Topological states and phase transitions in Sb2Te3-GeTe multilayers
journal contributionposted on 21.10.2016, 10:29 by Thuy-Anh Nguyen, Dirk Backes, Angadjit Singh, Rhodri Mansell, Crispin Barnes, David A. Ritchie, Gregor Mussler, Martin Lanius, Detlev Grutzmacher, Vijay Narayan
Topological insulators (TIs) are bulk insulators with exotic ‘topologically protected’ surface conducting modes. It has recently been pointed out that when stacked together, interactions between surface modes can induce diverse phases including the TI, Dirac semimetal, and Weyl semimetal. However, currently a full experimental understanding of the conditions under which topological modes interact is lacking. Here, working with multilayers of the TI Sb2Te3 and the band insulator GeTe, we provide experimental evidence of multiple topological modes in a single Sb2Te3-GeTe-Sb2Te3 structure. Furthermore, we show that reducing the thickness of the GeTe layer induces a phase transition from a Dirac-like phase to a gapped phase. By comparing different multilayer structures we demonstrate that this transition occurs due to the hybridisation of states associated with different TI films. Our results demonstrate that the Sb2Te3-GeTe system offers strong potential towards manipulating topological states as well as towards controlledly inducing various topological phases.
Leverhulme Trust, EPSRC (UK), DFG-funded priority programme SPP1666.