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Topological phase transition and texture inversion in a tunable topological insulator


Xu, S Y; Xia, Y; Wray, L A; Jia, S; Meier, F; Dil, J H; Osterwalder, J; Slomski, B; Bansil, A; Lin, H; Cava, R J; Hasan, M Z (2011). Topological phase transition and texture inversion in a tunable topological insulator. Science, 332(6029):560-564.

Abstract

The recently discovered three-dimensional or bulk topological insulators are expected to exhibit exotic quantum phenomena. It is believed that a trivial insulator can be twisted into a topological state by modulating the spin-orbit interaction or the crystal lattice, driving the system through a topological quantum phase transition. By directly measuring the topological quantum numbers and invariants, we report the observation of a phase transition in a tunable spin-orbit system, BiTl(S(1-δ)Se(δ))(2), in which the topological state formation is visualized. In the topological state, vortex-like polarization states are observed to exhibit three-dimensional vectorial textures, which collectively feature a chirality transition as the spin momentum-locked electrons on the surface go through the zero carrier density point. Such phase transition and texture inversion can be the physical basis for observing fractional charge (±e/2) and other fractional topological phenomena.

Abstract

The recently discovered three-dimensional or bulk topological insulators are expected to exhibit exotic quantum phenomena. It is believed that a trivial insulator can be twisted into a topological state by modulating the spin-orbit interaction or the crystal lattice, driving the system through a topological quantum phase transition. By directly measuring the topological quantum numbers and invariants, we report the observation of a phase transition in a tunable spin-orbit system, BiTl(S(1-δ)Se(δ))(2), in which the topological state formation is visualized. In the topological state, vortex-like polarization states are observed to exhibit three-dimensional vectorial textures, which collectively feature a chirality transition as the spin momentum-locked electrons on the surface go through the zero carrier density point. Such phase transition and texture inversion can be the physical basis for observing fractional charge (±e/2) and other fractional topological phenomena.

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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:2011
Deposited On:14 Jan 2012 21:17
Last Modified:13 Dec 2017 14:17
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
ISSN:0036-8075
Additional Information:Comment in: Science. 2011 Apr 29;332(6029):546-547. - This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science Vol. 332 no. 6029, 29 April 2011, DOI: 10.1126/science.1201607
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1201607
Related URLs:http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.4633
PubMed ID:21454752

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