Volume 79, Number 4, August 2007
Article Number 47010
Number of page(s) 6
Section Condensed Matter: Electronic Structure, Electrical, Magnetic and Optical Properties
Published online 25 July 2007
EPL, 79 (2007) 47010
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/79/47010

Topological quantum phase transition and the Berry phase near the Fermi surface in hole-doped quantum wells

Bin Zhou1, 2, Chao-Xing Liu3 and Shun-Qing Shen1

1  Department of Physics, and Center for Theoretical and Computational Physics, The University of Hong Kong Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China
2  Department of Physics, Hubei University - Wuhan 430062, China
3  Department of Physics and Center for Advanced Study, Tsinghua University - Beijing 100084, China

received 15 May 2007; accepted in final form 29 June 2007; published August 2007
published online 25 July 2007

We propose a topological quantum phase transition for quantum states with different Berry phases in hole-doped III-V semiconductor quantum wells with bulk and structure inversion asymmetry. The Berry phase of the occupied Bloch states can be characteristic of topological metallic states. It is found that the adjustment of the thickness of the quantum well may cause a transition of the Berry phase in a two-dimensional hole gas. Correspondingly, the jump of the spin Hall conductivity accompanies the change of the Berry phase. This property is robust against the impurity potentials in the system. Experimental detection of this topological quantum phase transition is discussed.

73.43.Nq - Quantum phase transitions.
03.65.Vf - Phases: geometric; dynamic or topological.
72.25.Dc - Spin polarized transport in semiconductors.

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007