Emergent Dirac fermion states underlie many intriguing properties of graphene, and the search for them constitutes one strong motivation to explore two-dimensional (2D) allotropes of other elements. Phosphorene, the ultrathin layers of black phosphorous, has been a subject of intense investigations recently, and it was found that other group-Va elements could also form 2D layers with similar puckered lattice structure. Here, by a close examination of their electronic band structure evolution, we discover two types of Dirac fermion states emerging in the low-energy spectrum. One pair of (type-I) Dirac points is sitting on high-symmetry lines, while two pairs of (type-II) Dirac points are located at generic k-points, with different anisotropic dispersions determined by the reduced symmetries at their locations. Such fully-unpinned (type-II) 2D Dirac points are discovered for the first time. In the absence of spin-orbit coupling (SOC), we find that each Dirac node is protected by the sublattice symmetry from gap opening, which is in turn ensured by any one of three point group symmetries. The SOC generally gaps the Dirac nodes, and for the type-I case, this drives the system into a quantum spin Hall insulator phase. We suggest possible ways to realise the unpinned Dirac points in strained phosphorene.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Modelling and Simulation
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Computer Science Applications