Bifurcations of edge states - Topologically protected and nonprotected - In continuous 2D honeycomb structures

C. L. Fefferman, J. P. Lee-Thorp, M. I. Weinstein

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16 Scopus citations


Edge states are time-harmonic solutions to energy-conserving wave equations, which are propagating parallel to a line-defect or 'edge' and are localized transverse to it. This paper summarizes and extends the authors' work on the bifurcation of topologically protected edge states in continuous twodimensional (2D) honeycomb structures.Weconsider a family of Schrödinger Hamiltonians consisting of a bulk honeycomb potential and a perturbing edge potential. The edge potential interpolates between two different periodic structures via a domain wall.Webegin by reviewing our recent bifurcation theory of edge states for continuous 2D honeycomb structures ( The topologically protected edge state bifurcation is seeded by the zero-energy eigenstate of a one-dimensional Dirac operator.Wecontrast these protected bifurcations with (more common) non-protected bifurcations from spectral band edges, which are induced by bound states of an effective Schrödinger operator. Numerical simulations for honeycomb structures of varying contrasts and 'rational edges' (zigzag, armchair and others), support the following scenario: (a) for low contrast, under a sign condition on a distinguished Fourier coefficient of the bulk honeycomb potential, there exist topologically protected edge states localized transverse to zigzag edges. Otherwise, and for general edges, we expect long lived edge quasi-modes which slowly leak energy into the bulk. (b) For an arbitrary rational edge, there is a threshold in the medium-contrast (depending on the choice of edge) above which there exist topologically protected edge states. In the special case of the armchair edge, there are two families of protected edge states; for each parallel quasimomentum (the quantum number associated with translation invariance) there are edge states which propagate in opposite directions along the armchair edge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014008
Journal2D Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 21 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Bifurcation
  • Dirac points
  • Domain wall
  • Edge state
  • Topological protection


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