Measurement of the topological surface state optical conductance in bulk-insulating Sn-doped Bi1.1Sb0.9Te2 S single crystals

Bing Cheng, Liang Wu, S. K. Kushwaha, R. J. Cava, N. P. Armitage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Topological surface states have been extensively observed via optics in thin films of topological insulators. However, in typical thick single crystals of these materials, bulk states are dominant and it is difficult for optics to verify the existence of topological surface states definitively. In this Rapid Communication, we study the charge dynamics of the newly formulated bulk-insulating Sn-doped Bi1.1Sb0.9Te2S crystal by using time-domain terahertz spectroscopy. This compound shows much better insulating behavior than any other bulk-insulating topological insulators reported previously. The transmission can be enhanced an amount which is 5% of the zero-field transmission by applying magnetic field to 7 T, an effect which we believe is due to the suppression of topological surface states. This suppression is essentially independent of the thicknesses of the samples, showing the two-dimensional nature of the transport. The suppression of surface states in field allows us to use the crystal slab itself as a reference sample to extract the surface conductance, mobility, charge density, and scattering rate. Our measurements set the stage for the investigation of phenomena out of the semiclassical regime, such as the topological magnetoelectric effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number201117
JournalPhysical Review B
Volume94
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 22 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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