Volume 118, Number 6, June 2017
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Condensed Matter: Electronic Structure, Electrical, Magnetic and Optical Properties|
|Published online||24 August 2017|
Robustness of states at the interface between topological insulators of opposite spin Chern number
Univ. Lille, CNRS, Centrale Lille, ISEN, Univ. Valenciennes, UMR 8520-IEMN - F-59000 Lille, France
Received: 24 June 2017
Accepted: 28 July 2017
We study the nature of the states at the interface between two time-reversal symmetric topological insulators characterized by opposite spin Chern numbers. We show using a multi-orbital model that interface states are usually present in the common topological gaps of the materials. The transport in these states is robust against disorder scattering only when the two spin sectors are uncoupled (no Rashba spin-orbit coupling). Otherwise, the topological protection associated with the spin Chern number is lost and back-scattering is allowed, even in the absence of disorder, due to the coupling between states flowing in opposite directions and originating from the two sides of the interface. Conditions that minimize this effect can be found but the interface states remain sensitive to disorder.
PACS: 73.43.Nq – Quantum phase transitions
© EPLA, 2017
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