In strongly correlated materials, quasiparticle excitations can carry fractional quantum numbers. An intriguing possibility is the formation of fractionalized, charge-neutral fermions—for example, spinons1 and fermionic excitons2,3—that result in neutral Fermi surfaces and Landau quantization4,5 in an insulator. Although previous experiments in quantum spin liquids1, topological Kondo insulators6–8 and quantum Hall systems3,9 have hinted at charge-neutral Fermi surfaces, evidence for their existence remains inconclusive. Here we report experimental observation of Landau quantization in a two-dimensional insulator, monolayer tungsten ditelluride (WTe2), a large-gap topological insulator10–13. Using a detection scheme that avoids edge contributions, we find large quantum oscillations in the material’s magnetoresistance, with an onset field as small as about 0.5 tesla. Despite the huge resistance, the oscillation profile, which exhibits many periods, mimics the Shubnikov–de Haas oscillations in metals. At ultralow temperatures, the observed oscillations evolve into discrete peaks near 1.6 tesla, above which the Landau quantized regime is fully developed. Such a low onset field of quantization is comparable to the behaviour of high-mobility conventional two-dimensional electron gases. Our experiments call for further investigation of the unusual ground state of the WTe2 monolayer, including the influence of device components and the possible existence of mobile fermions and charge-neutral Fermi surfaces inside its insulating gap.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes