Suppressed Magnetic Circular Dichroism and Valley-Selective Magnetoabsorption in Bismuth

Suppressed Magnetic Circular Dichroism and Valley-Selective Magnetoabsorption in Bismuth

We measure the far-infrared reflectivity and Kerr angle spectra on a high-quality crystal of pure semimetallic bismuth as a function of magnetic field, from which we extract the conductivity for left- and right-handed circular polarizations. The high spectral resolution allows us to separate the intraband Landau level transitions for electrons and holes. The hole transition exhibits 100% magnetic circular dichroism; it appears only for one polarization as expected for a circular cyclotron orbit. However, the dichroism for electron transitions is reduced to only 13±1%, which is quantitatively explained by the large effective mass anisotropy of the electron pockets of the Fermi surface. This observation is a signature of the mismatch between the metric experienced by the photons and the electrons. It allows for a contactless measurement of the effective mass anisotropy and provides a direction towards valley polarized magnetooptical pumping with elliptically polarized light.

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