Emergent Momentum-Space Skyrmion Texture on the Surface of Topological Insulators.
ABSTRACT: The quantum anomalous Hall effect has been theoretically predicted and experimentally verified in magnetic topological insulators. In addition, the surface states of these materials exhibit a hedgehoglike "spin" texture in momentum space. Here, we apply the previously formulated low-energy model for Bi2Se3, a parent compound for magnetic topological insulators, to a slab geometry in which an exchange field acts only within one of the surface layers. In this sample set up, the hedgehog transforms into a skyrmion texture beyond a critical exchange field. This critical field marks a transition between two topologically distinct phases. The topological phase transition takes place without energy gap closing at the Fermi level and leaves the transverse Hall conductance unchanged and quantized to e2/2h. The momentum-space skyrmion texture persists in a finite field range. It may find its realization in hybrid heterostructures with an interface between a three-dimensional topological insulator and a ferromagnetic insulator.
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:Harnessing the spin-momentum locking of topological surface states in conjunction with magnetic materials is the first step to realize novel topological insulator-based devices. Here, we report strong interfacial coupling in Bi2Se3/yttrium iron garnet (YIG) bilayers manifested as large interfacial in-plane magnetic anisotropy (IMA) and enhancement of damping probed by ferromagnetic resonance. The interfacial IMA and damping enhancement reaches a maximum when the Bi2Se3 film approaches its two-dimensional limit, indicating that topological surface states play an important role in the magnetization dynamics of YIG. Temperature-dependent ferromagnetic resonance of Bi2Se3/YIG reveals signatures of the magnetic proximity effect of TC as high as 180?K, an emerging low-temperature perpendicular magnetic anisotropy competing the high-temperature IMA, and an increasing exchange effective field of YIG steadily increasing toward low temperature. Our study sheds light on the effects of topological insulators on magnetization dynamics, essential for the development of topological insulator-based spintronic devices.
Project description:Topological insulators with spin-momentum-locked topological surface states are expected to exhibit a giant spin-orbit torque in the topological insulator/ferromagnet systems. To date, the topological insulator spin-orbit torque-driven magnetization switching is solely reported in a Cr-doped topological insulator at 1.9?K. Here we directly show giant spin-orbit torque-driven magnetization switching in a Bi2Se3/NiFe heterostructure at room temperature captured using a magneto-optic Kerr effect microscope. We identify a large charge-to-spin conversion efficiency of ~1-1.75 in the thin Bi2Se3 films, where the topological surface states are dominant. In addition, we find the current density required for the magnetization switching is extremely low, ~6?×?105?A?cm-2, which is one to two orders of magnitude smaller than that with heavy metals. Our demonstration of room temperature magnetization switching of a conventional 3d ferromagnet using Bi2Se3 may lead to potential innovations in topological insulator-based spintronic applications.
Project description:Topological insulators host spin-polarized surface states born out of the energetic inversion of bulk bands driven by the spin-orbit interaction. Here we discover previously unidentified consequences of band-inversion on the surface electronic structure of the topological insulator Bi2Se3. By performing simultaneous spin, time, and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, we map the spin-polarized unoccupied electronic structure and identify a surface resonance which is distinct from the topological surface state, yet shares a similar spin-orbital texture with opposite orientation. Its momentum dependence and spin texture imply an intimate connection with the topological surface state. Calculations show these two distinct states can emerge from trivial Rashba-like states that change topology through the spin-orbit-induced band inversion. This work thus provides a compelling view of the coevolution of surface states through a topological phase transition, enabled by the unique capability of directly measuring the spin-polarized unoccupied band structure.
Project description:The lateral motion of a magnetic skyrmion, arising because of the skyrmion Hall effect, imposes a number of restrictions on the use of this spin state in the racetrack memory. A skyrmionium is a more promising spin texture for memory applications, since it has zero total topological charge and propagates strictly along a nanotrack. Here, the stability of the skyrmionium, as well as the dependence of its size on the magnetic parameters, such as the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction and perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, are studied by means of micromagnetic simulations. We propose an advanced method for the skyrmionium nucleation due to a local enhancement of the spin Hall effect. The stability of the skyrmionium being in motion under the action of the spin polarized current is analyzed.
Project description:Dynamics of string-like objects is an important issue in a broad range of physical systems, including vortex lines in superconductors, viscoelastic polymers, and superstrings in elementary particle physics. In noncentrosymmetric magnets, string forms of magnetic skyrmions are present as topological spin objects, and their current-induced dynamics has recently attracted intense interest. We show in the chiral magnet MnSi that the current-induced deformation dynamics of skyrmion strings results in transport response associated with the real-space Berry phase. Prominent nonlinear Hall signals emerge above the threshold current only in the skyrmion phase. We clarify the mechanism for these nonlinear Hall signals by adopting spin density wave picture to describe the moving skyrmion lattice; deformation of skyrmion strings occurs in an asymmetric manner due to the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, which leads to the nonreciprocal nonlinear Hall response originating from an emergent electromagnetic field. This finding reveals the dynamical nature of string-like objects and consequent transport outcomes in noncentrosymmetric systems.
Project description:Magnetic skyrmions exhibit particle-like properties owing to the topology of their swirling spin texture, providing opportunities to study crystallization of topological particles. However, they mostly end up with a triangular lattice, and thus, the packing degree of freedom in the skyrmion particles has been overlooked so far. We report a structural transition of the skyrmion lattice in MnSi. By use of small-angle neutron scattering, we explore a metastable skyrmion state spreading over a wide temperature and magnetic field region, after thermal quenching. The quenched skyrmions undergo a triangular-to-square lattice transition with decreasing magnetic field at low temperatures. Our study suggests that various skyrmion lattices can emerge at low temperatures, where the skyrmions exhibit distinct topological nature and high sensitivity to the local magnetic anisotropy arising from the underlying chemical lattice.
Project description:Three-dimensional topological insulators are fascinating materials with insulating bulk yet metallic surfaces that host highly mobile charge carriers with locked spin and momentum. Remarkably, surface currents with tunable direction and magnitude can be launched with tailored light beams. To better understand the underlying mechanisms, the current dynamics need to be resolved on the timescale of elementary scattering events (?10?fs). Here, we excite and measure photocurrents in the model topological insulator Bi2Se3 with a time resolution of 20?fs by sampling the concomitantly emitted broadband terahertz (THz) electromagnetic field from 0.3 to 40?THz. Strikingly, the surface current response is dominated by an ultrafast charge transfer along the Se-Bi bonds. In contrast, photon-helicity-dependent photocurrents are found to be orders of magnitude smaller than expected from generation scenarios based on asymmetric depopulation of the Dirac cone. Our findings are of direct relevance for broadband optoelectronic devices based on topological-insulator surface currents.
Project description:Magnetotransport measurements of topological insulators are very important to reveal the exotic topological surface states for spintronic applications. However, the novel properties related to the surface Dirac fermions are usually accompanied by a large linear magnetoresistance under perpendicular magnetic field, which makes the identification of the surface states obscure. Here, we report prominent Shubnikov-de Haas (SdH) oscillations under an in-plane magnetic field, which are identified to originate from the surface states in the sidewalls of topological insulator Bi2Se3 nanoplates. Importantly, the SdH oscillations appear with a dramatically weakened magnetoresistance background, offering an easy path to probe the surface states directly when the coexistence of surface states and bulk conduction is inevitable. Moreover, under a perpendicular magnetic field, the oscillations in Hall conductivity have peak-to-valley amplitudes of 2 e(2)/h, giving confidence to achieve a quantum Hall effect in this system. A cross-section view of the nanoplate shows that the sidewall is (015) facet dominant and therefore forms a 58° angle with regard to the top/bottom surface instead of being perpendicular; this gives credit to the surface states' behavior as two-dimensional transport.
Project description:The extensive research of two-dimensional layered materials has revealed that valleys, as energy extrema in momentum space, could offer a new degree of freedom for carrying information. Based on this concept, researchers have predicted valley-Hall topological insulators that could support valley-polarized edge states at non-trivial domain walls. Recently, several kinds of photonic and sonic crystals have been proposed as classical counterparts of valley-Hall topological insulators. However, direct experimental observation of valley-polarized edge states in photonic crystals has remained difficult until now. Here, we demonstrate a designer surface plasmon crystal comprising metallic patterns deposited on a dielectric substrate, which can become a valley-Hall photonic topological insulator by exploiting the mirror-symmetry-breaking mechanism. Topological edge states with valley-dependent transport are directly visualized in the microwave regime. The observed edge states are confirmed to be fully valley-polarized through spatial Fourier transforms. Topological protection of the edge states at sharp corners is also experimentally demonstrated.