We report the first observation of the non-magnetic Barkhausen effect in van der Waals layered crystals, specifically, between the Td and 1T’ phases in type-II Weyl semimetal MoTe2. Thinning down the MoTe2 crystal from bulk material to about 25nm results in a drastic strengthening of the hysteresis in the phase transition, with the difference in critical temperature increasing from 40K to more than 300K. The Barkhausen effect appears for thin samples and the temperature range of the Barkhausen zone grows approximately linearly with reducing sample thickness, pointing to a surface origin of the phase pinning defects. The distribution of the Barkhausen jumps shows a power law behavior, with its critical exponent {alpha} = 1.27, in good agreement with existing scaling theory. Temperature-dependent Raman spectroscopy on MoTe2 crystals of various thicknesses shows results consistent with our transport measurements.

Published in: "arXiv Material Science".