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Title: Disorder-driven topological phase transition in Bi2Se3 films

Topological insulators (TI) are a phase of matter that host unusual metallic states on their surfaces. Unlike the states that exist on the surface of conventional materials, these so-called topological surfaces states (TSS) are protected against disorder-related localization effects by time reversal symmetry through strong spin-orbit coupling. By combining transport measurements, angle-resolved photo-emission spectroscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy, we show that there exists a critical level of disorder beyond which the TI Bi2Se3 loses its ability to protect the metallic TSS and transitions to a fully insulating state. The absence of the metallic surface channels dictates that there is a change in material’s topological character, implying that disorder can lead to a topological phase transition even without breaking the time reversal symmetry. This observation challenges the conventional notion of topologically-protected surface states, and will provoke new studies as to the fundamental nature of topological phase of matter in the presence of disorder.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [7] ;  [1] ;  [8] ;  [4] ;  [9] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Rutgers Univ., Piscataway, NJ (United States). Dept. of Physics & Astronomy
  2. Rutgers Univ., Piscataway, NJ (United States). Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering
  3. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Dept. of Physics
  4. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States). Condensed Matter Physics & Materials Science
  5. Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD (United States). Inst. for Quantum Matter, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
  6. Rutgers Univ., Piscataway, NJ (United States). Dept. of Chemistry
  7. Hankuk Univ. of Foreign Studies, Yongin-shi (Korea). Dept. of Physics
  8. Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD (United States). Inst. for Quantum Matter, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
  9. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
BNL-113250-2016-JA
Journal ID: ISSN 2469-9950; PRBMDO; R&D Project: MA015MACA; KC0201010
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0012704; FG0203ER46066; AC02-05CH11231; W911NF-15-1-0560; DMR-1506618; DMREF-1233349; DMR-1126468; GBMF4418; DMR-1308142; DMR-1106070; GBMF2628; DESC0012704
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review B
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 94; Journal Issue: 16; Journal ID: ISSN 2469-9950
Publisher:
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY
OSTI Identifier:
1336221
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1328573