Inversion-symmetric topological insulators

Taylor L. Hughes, Emil Prodan, B. Andrei Bernevig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

240 Scopus citations

Abstract

We analyze translationally invariant insulators with inversion symmetry that fall outside the current established classification of topological insulators. These insulators exhibit no edge or surface modes in the energy spectrum and hence they are not edge metals when the Fermi level is in the bulk gap. However, they do exhibit protected modes in the entanglement spectrum localized on the cut between two entangled regions. Their entanglement entropy cannot be made to vanish adiabatically, and hence the insulators can be called topological. There is a direct connection between the inversion eigenvalues of the Hamiltonian band structure and the midgap states in the entanglement spectrum. The classification of protected entanglement levels is given by an integer N, which is the difference between the negative inversion eigenvalues at inversion symmetric points in the Brillouin zone, taken in sets of 2. When the Hamiltonian describes a Chern insulator or a nontrivial time-reversal invariant topological insulator, the entirety of the entanglement spectrum exhibits spectral flow. If the Chern number is zero for the former, or time reversal is broken in the latter, the entanglement spectrum does not have spectral flow, but, depending on the inversion eigenvalues, can still exhibit protected midgap bands similar to impurity bands in normal semiconductors. Although spectral flow is broken (implying the absence of real edge or surface modes in the original Hamiltonian), the midgap entanglement bands cannot be adiabatically removed, and the insulator is "topological." We analyze the linear response of these insulators and provide proofs and examples of when the inversion eigenvalues determine a nontrivial charge polarization, a quantum Hall effect, an anisotropic three-dimensional (3D) quantum Hall effect, or a magnetoelectric polarization. In one dimension, we establish a link between the product of the inversion eigenvalues of all occupied bands at all inversion symmetric points and charge polarization. In two dimensions, we prove a link between the product of the inversion eigenvalues and the parity of the Chern number of the occupied bands. In three dimensions, we find a topological constraint on the product of the inversion eigenvalues thereby showing that some 3D materials are protected topological metals; we show the link between the inversion eigenvalues and the 3D Quantum Hall Effect, and analyze the magnetoelectric polarization (θ vacuum) in the absence of time-reversal symmetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number245132
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume83
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 28 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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