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Observation of topological order in a Superconducting doped topological insulator (based on the Bi2Se3 class)

By L. Andrew Wray, Suyang Xu, Yuqi Xia, Dong Qian, Alexei V. Fedorov, Hsin Lin, Arun Bansil, Yew San Hor, Robert J. Cava and M. Zahid Hasan


Topological insulators embody a new state of matter characterized entirely by the topological invariants of the bulk electronic structure rather than any form of spontaneously broken symmetry. Unlike the 2D quantum Hall or quantum spin-Hall-like systems, the three dimensional (3D) topological insulators can host magnetism and superconductivity which has generated widespread research activity in condensed-matter and materials-physics communities. Thus there is an explosion of interest in understanding the rich interplay between topological and the broken-symmetry states (such as superconductivity), greatly spurred by proposals that superconductivity introduced into certain band structures will host exotic quasiparticles which are of interest in quantum information science. The observations of superconductivity in doped Bi_2Se_3 (Cu$_x$Bi$_2$Se$_3$) and doped Bi_2Te_3 (Pd$_x$-Bi$_2$Te$_3$ T$_c$ $\sim$ 5K) have raised many intriguing questions about the spin-orbit physics of these ternary complexes while any rigorous theory of superconductivity remains elusive. Here we present key measurements of electron dynamics in systematically tunable normal state of Cu$_x$Bi$_2$Se$_3$ (x=0 to 12%) gaining insights into its spin-orbit behavior and the topological nature of the surface where superconductivity takes place at low temperatures. Our data reveal that superconductivity occurs (in sample compositions) with electrons in a bulk relativistic kinematic regime and we identify that an unconventional doping mechanism causes the topological surface character of the undoped compound to be preserved at the Fermi level of the superconducting compound, where Cooper pairing occurs at low temperatures. These experimental observations provide important clues for developing a theory of topological-superconductivity in 3D topological insulators.Comment: 13 pages, 4 Figures, High resolution figures at

Topics: Condensed Matter - Superconductivity, Condensed Matter - Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics, Condensed Matter - Strongly Correlated Electrons
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1038/nphys1762
OAI identifier:
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