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Robust spin-polarized midgap states at step edges of topological crystalline insulators


Sessi, P; Di Sante, D; Szczerbakow, A; Glott, F; Wilfert, S; Schmidt, H; Bathon, T; Dziawa, P; Greiter, M; Neupert, T; Sangiovanni, G; Story, T; Thomale, R; Bode, M (2016). Robust spin-polarized midgap states at step edges of topological crystalline insulators. Science, 354(6317):1269-1273.

Abstract

Topological crystalline insulators are materials in which the crystalline symmetry leads to topologically protected surface states with a chiral spin texture, rendering them potential candidates for spintronics applications. Using scanning tunneling spectroscopy, we uncover the existence of one-dimensional (1D) midgap states at odd-atomic surface step edges of the three-dimensional topological crystalline insulator (Pb,Sn)Se. A minimal toy model and realistic tight-binding calculations identify them as spin-polarized flat bands connecting two Dirac points. This nontrivial origin provides the 1D midgap states with inherent stability and protects them from backscattering. We experimentally show that this stability results in a striking robustness to defects, strong magnetic fields, and elevated temperature.

Abstract

Topological crystalline insulators are materials in which the crystalline symmetry leads to topologically protected surface states with a chiral spin texture, rendering them potential candidates for spintronics applications. Using scanning tunneling spectroscopy, we uncover the existence of one-dimensional (1D) midgap states at odd-atomic surface step edges of the three-dimensional topological crystalline insulator (Pb,Sn)Se. A minimal toy model and realistic tight-binding calculations identify them as spin-polarized flat bands connecting two Dirac points. This nontrivial origin provides the 1D midgap states with inherent stability and protects them from backscattering. We experimentally show that this stability results in a striking robustness to defects, strong magnetic fields, and elevated temperature.

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5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:09 Jan 2017 09:26
Last Modified:09 Jan 2017 09:26
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:0036-8075
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aah6233
PubMed ID:27940869

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