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Quantum spin Hall insulators in centrosymmetric thin films composed from topologically trivial BiTeI trilayers

AuthorsNechaev, I. A.; Eremeev, S. V.; Krasovskii, E. E.; Echenique, Pedro M. ; Chulkov, Eugene V.
Issue Date2017
PublisherNature Publishing Group
CitationScientific Reports 7: 43666 (2017)
AbstractThe quantum spin Hall insulators predicted ten years ago and now experimentally observed are instrumental for a break-through in nanoelectronics due to non-dissipative spin-polarized electron transport through their edges. For this transport to persist at normal conditions, the insulators should possess a sufficiently large band gap in a stable topological phase. Here, we theoretically show that quantum spin Hall insulators can be realized in ultra-thin films constructed from a trivial band insulator with strong spin-orbit coupling. The thinnest film with an inverted gap large enough for practical applications is a centrosymmetric sextuple layer built out of two inversely stacked non-centrosymmetric BiTeI trilayers. This nontrivial sextuple layer turns out to be the structure element of an artificially designed strong three-dimensional topological insulator Bi 2 Te 2 I 2. We reveal general principles of how a topological insulator can be composed from the structure elements of the BiTeX family (X = I, Br, Cl), which opens new perspectives towards engineering of topological phases.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1038/srep43666
Identifiersdoi: 10.1038/srep43666
e-issn: 2045-2322
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