"Aharonov–Bohm interference in topological insulator nanoribbons"

Hailin Peng: Keji Lai, Desheng Kong, Stefan Meister, Yulin Chen, Xiao-Liang Qi, Shou-Cheng Zhang, Zhi-Xun Shen and Yi Cui ; Nature Materials, 02/15/10.

Additional Authors: Keji Lai, Desheng Kong, Stefan Meister, Yulin Chen, Xiao-Liang Qi, Shou-Cheng Zhang, Zhi-Xun Shen and Yi Cui

Abstract:

Topological insulators represent unusual phases of quantum matter with an insulating bulk gap and gapless edges or surface states. The two-dimensional topological insulator phase was predicted in HgTe quantum wells1 and confirmed by transport measurements2. Recently, Bi2Se3 and related materials have been proposed as three-dimensional topological insulators with a single Dirac cone on the surface3, 4, protected by time-reversal symmetry5, 6, 7. The topological surface states have been observed by angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy experiments4, 8. However, few transport measurements9 in this context have been reported, presumably owing to the predominance of bulk carriers from crystal defects or thermal excitations10. Here we show unambiguous transport evidence of topological surface states through periodic quantum interference effects in layered single-crystalline Bi2Se3 nanoribbons, which have larger surface-to-volume ratios than bulk materials and can therefore manifest surface effects. Pronounced Aharonov–Bohm oscillations11 in the magnetoresistance clearly demonstrate the coherent propagation of two-dimensional electrons around the perimeter of the nanoribbon surface, as expected from the topological nature of the surface states. The dominance of the primary h/e oscillation, where h is Planck’s constant and e is the electron charge, and its temperature dependence demonstrate the robustness of these states. Our results suggest that topological insulator nanoribbons afford promising materials for future spintronic devices at room temperature12.