Ultrafast electron dynamics at the Dirac node of the topological insulator Sb2Te3.
ABSTRACT: Topological insulators (TIs) are a new quantum state of matter. Their surfaces and interfaces act as a topological boundary to generate massless Dirac fermions with spin-helical textures. Investigation of fermion dynamics near the Dirac point (DP) is crucial for the future development of spintronic devices incorporating topological insulators. However, research so far has been unsatisfactory because of a substantial overlap with the bulk valence band and a lack of a completely unoccupied DP. Here, we explore the surface Dirac fermion dynamics in the TI Sb2Te3 by time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (TrARPES). Sb2Te3 has an in-gap DP located completely above the Fermi energy (EF). The excited electrons in the upper Dirac cone stay longer than those below the DP to form an inverted population. This was attributed to a reduced density of states (DOS) near the DP.
Project description:Three-dimensional (3D) topological insulators are a new state of quantum matter, which exhibits both a bulk band structure with an insulating energy gap as well as metallic spin-polarized Dirac fermion states when interfaced with a topologically trivial material. There have been various attempts to tune the Dirac point to a desired energetic position for exploring its unusual quantum properties. Here we show a direct experimental proof by angle-resolved photoemission of the realization of a vertical topological p-n junction made of a heterostructure of two different binary 3D TI materials Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3 epitaxially grown on Si(111). We demonstrate that the chemical potential is tunable by about 200?meV when decreasing the upper Sb2Te3 layer thickness from 25 to 6 quintuple layers without applying any external bias. These results make it realistic to observe the topological exciton condensate and pave the way for exploring other exotic quantum phenomena in the near future.
Project description:Topological insulators (TIs) are bulk insulators with exotic 'topologically protected' surface conducting modes. It has recently been pointed out that when stacked together, interactions between surface modes can induce diverse phases including the TI, Dirac semimetal, and Weyl semimetal. However, currently a full experimental understanding of the conditions under which topological modes interact is lacking. Here, working with multilayers of the TI Sb2Te3 and the band insulator GeTe, we provide experimental evidence of multiple topological modes in a single Sb2Te3-GeTe-Sb2Te3 structure. Furthermore, we show that reducing the thickness of the GeTe layer induces a phase transition from a Dirac-like phase to a gapped phase. By comparing different multilayer structures we demonstrate that this transition occurs due to the hybridisation of states associated with different TI films. Our results demonstrate that the Sb2Te3-GeTe system offers strong potential towards manipulating topological states as well as towards controlledly inducing various topological phases.
Project description:Three-dimensional topological insulators are characterized by insulating bulk state and metallic surface state involving relativistic Dirac fermions which are responsible for exotic quantum phenomena and potential applications in spintronics and quantum computations. It is essential to understand how the Dirac fermions interact with other electrons, phonons and disorders. Here we report super-high resolution angle-resolved photoemission studies on the Dirac fermion dynamics in the prototypical Bi2(Te,Se)3 topological insulators. We have directly revealed signatures of the electron-phonon coupling and found that the electron-disorder interaction dominates the scattering process. The Dirac fermion dynamics in Bi2(Te3-xSex) topological insulators can be tuned by varying the composition, x, or by controlling the charge carriers. Our findings provide crucial information in understanding and engineering the electron dynamics of the Dirac fermions for fundamental studies and potential applications.
Project description:There are two types of intrinsic surface states in solids. The first type is formed on the surface of topological insulators. Recently, transport of massless Dirac fermions in the band of "topological" states has been demonstrated. States of the second type were predicted by Tamm and Shockley long ago. They do not have a topological background and are therefore strongly dependent on the properties of the surface. We study the problem of the conductivity of Tamm-Shockley edge states through direct transport experiments. Aharonov-Bohm magneto-oscillations of resistance are found on graphene samples that contain a single nanohole. The effect is explained by the conductivity of the massless Dirac fermions in the edge states cycling around the nanohole. The results demonstrate the deep connection between topological and non-topological edge states in 2D systems of massless Dirac fermions.
Project description:Since the advent of topological insulators hosting Dirac surface states, efforts have been made to gap these states in a controllable way. A new route to accomplish this was opened up by the discovery of topological crystalline insulators where the topological states are protected by crystal symmetries and thus prone to gap formation by structural changes of the lattice. Here we show a temperature-driven gap opening in Dirac surface states within the topological crystalline insulator phase in (Pb,Sn)Se. By using angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy, the gap formation and mass acquisition is studied as a function of composition and temperature. The resulting observations lead to the addition of a temperature- and composition-dependent boundary between massless and massive Dirac states in the topological phase diagram for (Pb,Sn)Se (001). Overall, our results experimentally establish the possibility to tune between massless and massive topological states on the surface of a topological system.
Project description:Electrons with a linear energy/momentum dispersion are called massless Dirac electrons and represent the low-energy excitations in exotic materials such as graphene and topological insulators. Dirac electrons are characterized by notable properties such as a high mobility, a tunable density and, in topological insulators, a protection against backscattering through the spin-momentum locking mechanism. All those properties make graphene and topological insulators appealing for plasmonics applications. However, Dirac electrons are expected to present also a strong nonlinear optical behaviour. This should mirror in phenomena such as electromagnetic-induced transparency and harmonic generation. Here we demonstrate that in Bi2Se3 topological insulator, an electromagnetic-induced transparency is achieved under the application of a strong terahertz electric field. This effect, concomitantly determined by harmonic generation and charge-mobility reduction, is exclusively related to the presence of Dirac electron at the surface of Bi2Se3, and opens the road towards tunable terahertz nonlinear optical devices based on topological insulator materials.
Project description:Transport due to spin-helical massless Dirac fermion surface state is of paramount importance to realize various new physical phenomena in topological insulators, ranging from quantum anomalous Hall effect to Majorana fermions. However, one of the most important hallmarks of topological surface states, the Dirac linear band dispersion, has been difficult to reveal directly in transport measurements. Here we report experiments on Bi2Te3 nanoribbon ambipolar field effect devices on high-? SrTiO3 substrates, where we achieve a gate-tuned bulk metal-insulator transition and the topological transport regime with substantial surface state conduction. In this regime, we report two unambiguous transport evidences for gate-tunable Dirac fermions through ? Berry's phase in Shubnikov-de Haas oscillations and effective mass proportional to the Fermi momentum, indicating linear energy-momentum dispersion. We also measure a gate-tunable weak anti-localization (WAL) with 2 coherent conduction channels (indicating 2 decoupled surfaces) near the charge neutrality point, and a transition to weak localization (indicating a collapse of the Berry's phase) when the Fermi energy approaches the bulk conduction band. The gate-tunable Dirac fermion topological surface states pave the way towards a variety of topological electronic devices.
Project description:Dirac-like electrons in solid state have been of great interest since they exhibit many peculiar physical behaviors analogous to relativistic mechanics. Among them, carriers in graphene and surface states of topological insulators are known to behave as massless Dirac fermions with a conical band structure in the two-dimensional momentum space, whereas electrons in semimetal bismuth (Bi) are expected to behave as massive Dirac-like fermions in the three-dimensional momentum space, whose dynamics is of particular interest in comparison with that of the massless Dirac fermions. Here, we demonstrate that an intense terahertz electric field transient accelerates the massive Dirac-like fermions in Bi from classical Newtonian to the relativistic regime; the electrons are accelerated approaching the effective "speed of light" with the "relativistic" beta β = 0.89 along the asymptotic linear band structure. As a result, the effective electron mass is enhanced by a factor of 2.4.
Project description:Topological insulators are a novel class of quantum matter with a gapped insulating bulk, yet gapless spin-helical Dirac fermion conducting surface states. Here, we report local and non-local electrical and magneto transport measurements in dual-gated BiSbTeSe2 thin film topological insulator devices, with conduction dominated by the spatially separated top and bottom surfaces, each hosting a single species of Dirac fermions with independent gate control over the carrier type and density. We observe many intriguing quantum transport phenomena in such a fully tunable two-species topological Dirac gas, including a zero-magnetic-field minimum conductivity close to twice the conductance quantum at the double Dirac point, a series of ambipolar two-component half-integer Dirac quantum Hall states and an electron-hole total filling factor zero state (with a zero-Hall plateau), exhibiting dissipationless (chiral) and dissipative (non-chiral) edge conduction, respectively. Such a system paves the way to explore rich physics, ranging from topological magnetoelectric effects to exciton condensation.
Project description:The surface states of 3D topological insulators (TIs) exhibit a helical spin texture with spin locked at right angles with momentum. The chirality of this spin texture is expected to invert crossing the Dirac point, a property that has been experimentally observed by optical probes. Here, we directly determine the chirality below the Dirac point by electrically detecting spin-momentum locking in surface states of a p-type TI, Sb2Te3. A current flowing in the Sb2Te3 surface states generates a net spin polarization due to spin-momentum locking, which is electrically detected as a voltage on an Fe/Al2O3 tunnel barrier detector. Measurements of this voltage as a function of current direction and detector magnetization indicate that hole spin-momentum locking follows the right-hand rule, opposite that of electron, providing direct confirmation that the chirality is indeed inverted below Dirac point. The spin signal is linear with current, and exhibits a temperature dependence consistent with the semiconducting nature of the TI film and freeze-out of bulk conduction below 100?K. Our results demonstrate that the chirality of the helical spin texture of TI surface states can be determined electrically, an enabling step in the electrical manipulation of spins in next generation TI-based quantum devices.