Research ArticlePHYSICAL SCIENCE

A novel artificial condensed matter lattice and a new platform for one-dimensional topological phases

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science Advances  24 Mar 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 3, e1501692
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501692

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Abstract

Engineered lattices in condensed matter physics, such as cold-atom optical lattices or photonic crystals, can have properties that are fundamentally different from those of naturally occurring electronic crystals. We report a novel type of artificial quantum matter lattice. Our lattice is a multilayer heterostructure built from alternating thin films of topological and trivial insulators. Each interface within the heterostructure hosts a set of topologically protected interface states, and by making the layers sufficiently thin, we demonstrate for the first time a hybridization of interface states across layers. In this way, our heterostructure forms an emergent atomic chain, where the interfaces act as lattice sites and the interface states act as atomic orbitals, as seen from our measurements by angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. By changing the composition of the heterostructure, we can directly control hopping between lattice sites. We realize a topological and a trivial phase in our superlattice band structure. We argue that the superlattice may be characterized in a significant way by a one-dimensional topological invariant, closely related to the invariant of the Su-Schrieffer-Heeger model. Our topological insulator heterostructure demonstrates a novel experimental platform where we can engineer band structures by directly controlling how electrons hop between lattice sites.

Keywords
  • phyics
  • materials science
  • topological insulator
  • Dirac fermion
  • Su-Schriffer-Heeger model

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Related Content

More Like This