Dirac theory and topological phases of silicon nanotube
Department of Applied Physics, University of Tokyo - Hongo 7-3-1, 113-8656, Japan
Accepted: 22 May 2012
Silicon nanotube is constructed by rolling up a silicene, i.e., a monolayer of silicon atoms forming a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice. It is a semiconductor or an insulator due to relatively large spin-orbit interactions induced by its buckled structure. The key observation is that this buckled structure allows us to control the band structure by applying an electric field Ez. When Ez is larger than a certain critical value Ecr, by analyzing the band structure and also on the basis of the effective Dirac theory, we demonstate the emergence of four helical zero-energy modes propagating along the nanotube. Accordingly, a silicon nanotube contains three regions, namely, a topological insulator, a band insulator and a metallic region separating these two types of insulators. The wave function of each zero mode is localized within the metallic region, which may be used as a quantum wire to transport spin currents in future spintronics. We present an analytic expression of the wave function for each helical zero mode. These results are applicable also to germanium nanotubes.
PACS: 73.22.Pr – Electronic structure of graphene / 72.25.-b – Spin polarized transport / 03.65.Vf – Phases: geometric; dynamic or topological
© EPLA, 2012