116 research outputs found

    Ballistic quantum spin Hall state and enhanced edge backscattering in strong magnetic fields

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    The quantum spin Hall (QSH) state, observed in a zero magnetic field in HgTe quantum wells, respects the time-reversal symmetry and is distinct from quantum Hall (QH) states. We show that the QSH state persists in strong quantizing fields and is identified by counter-propagating (helical) edge channels with nonlinear dispersion inside the band gap. If the Fermi level is shifted into the Landau-quantized conduction or valence band, we find a transition between the QSH and QH regimes. Near the transition the longitudinal conductance of the helical channels is strongly suppressed due to the combined effect of the spectrum nonlinearity and enhanced backscattering. It shows a power-law decay 1/B^2N with magnetic field B, determined by the number of backscatterers on the edge, N. This suggests a rather simple and practical way to probe the quality of recently realized quasiballistic QSH devices using magnetoresistance measurements.Comment: 4 pages, 3 figures, minor changes, accepted for publication in PR

    Anomalous Spin Response and Virtual-Carrier-Mediated Magnetism in a Topological Insulator

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    We present a comprehensive theoretical study of the static spin response in HgTe quantum wells, revealing distinctive behavior for the topologically nontrivial inverted structure. Most strikingly, the q=0 (long-wave-length) spin susceptibility of the undoped topological-insulator system is constant and equal to the value found for the gapless Dirac-like structure, whereas the same quantity shows the typical decrease with increasing band gap in the normal-insulator regime. We discuss ramifications for the ordering of localized magnetic moments present in the quantum well, both in the insulating and electron-doped situations. The spin response of edge states is also considered, and we extract effective Lande g-factors for the bulk and edge electrons. The variety of counter-intuitive spin-response properties revealed in our study arises from the system's versatility in accessing situations where the charge-carrier dynamics can be governed by ordinary Schrodinger-type physics, mimics the behavior of chiral Dirac fermions, or reflects the material's symmetry-protected topological order.Comment: 15 pages, 8 figures, RevTex4.1; v2: extended and expanded results and presentatio

    Signatures of topology in ballistic bulk transport of HgTe quantum wells

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    We calculate bulk transport properties of two-dimensional topological insulators based on HgTe quantum wells in the ballistic regime. Interestingly, we find that the conductance and the shot noise are distinctively different for the so-called normal regime (the topologically trivial case) and the so-called inverted regime (the topologically non-trivial case). Thus, it is possible to verify the topological order of a two-dimensional topological insulator not only via observable edge properties but also via observable bulk properties. This is important because we show that under certain conditions the bulk contribution can dominate the edge contribution which makes it essential to fully understand the former for the interpretation of future experiments in clean samples.Comment: 5 pages, 4 figure

    Spin-Hall effect in a [110] quantum well

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    A self-consistent treatment of the spin-Hall effect requires consideration of the spin-orbit coupling and electron-impurity scattering on equal footing. This is done here for the experimentally relevant case of a [110] GaAs quantum well [Sih {\it et al.}, Nature Physics 1, 31 (2005)]. Working within the framework of the exact linear response formalism we calculate the spin-Hall conductivity including the Dresselhaus linear and cubic terms in the band structure, as well as the electron-impurity scattering and electron-electron interaction to all orders. We show that the spin-Hall conductivity naturally separates into two contributions, skew-scattering and side-jump, and we propose an experiment to distinguish between them.Comment: The connection with the recent experiment on [110] quantum wells is emphasize

    Anomalous galvanomagnetism, cyclotron resonance and microwave spectroscopy of topological insulators

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    The surface quantum Hall state, magneto-electric phenomena and their connection to axion electrodynamics have been studied intensively for topological insulators. One of the obstacles for observing such effects comes from nonzero conductivity of the bulk. To overcome this obstacle we propose to use an external magnetic field to suppress the conductivity of the bulk carriers. The magnetic field dependence of galvanomagnetic and electromagnetic responses of the whole system shows anomalies due to broken time-reversal symmetry of the surface quantum Hall state, which can be used for its detection. In particular, we find linear bulk dc magnetoresistivity and a quadratic field dependence of the Hall angle, shifted rf cyclotron resonance, nonanalytic microwave transmission coefficient and saturation of the Faraday rotation angle with increasing magnetic field or wave frequency.Comment: 5 pages, 3 figures, version as publishe

    "Phase Diagram" of the Spin Hall Effect

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    We obtain analytic formulas for the frequency-dependent spin-Hall conductivity of a two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in the presence of impurities, linear spin-orbit Rashba interaction, and external magnetic field perpendicular to the 2DEG. We show how different mechanisms (skew-scattering, side-jump, and spin precession) can be brought in or out of focus by changing controllable parameters such as frequency, magnetic field, and temperature. We find, in particular, that the d.c. spin Hall conductivity vanishes in the absence of a magnetic field, while a magnetic field restores the skew-scattering and side-jump contributions proportionally to the ratio of magnetic and Rashba fields.Comment: Some typos correcte