Observation of topological surface state quantum Hall effect in an intrinsic three-dimensional topological insulator

Yang Xu, Ireneusz Miotkowski, Chang Liu, Jifa Tian, Hyoungdo Nam, Nasser Alidoust, Jiuning Hu, Chih Kang Shih, M. Zahid Hasan, Yong P. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

A three-dimensional (3D) topological insulator (TI) is a quantum state of matter with a gapped insulating bulk yet a conducting surface hosting topologically protected gapless surface states. One of the most distinct electronic transport signatures predicted for such topological surface states (TSS) is a well-defined half-integer quantum Hall effect (QHE) in a magnetic field, where the surface Hall conductivities become quantized in units of (1/2)e 2 /h (e being the electron charge, h the Planck constant) concomitant with vanishing resistance. Here, we observe a well-developed QHE arising from TSS in an intrinsic TI of BiSbTeSe 2. Our samples exhibit surface-dominated conduction even close to room temperature, whereas the bulk conduction is negligible. At low temperatures and high magnetic fields perpendicular to the top and bottom surfaces, we observe well-developed integer quantized Hall plateaux, where the two parallel surfaces each contribute a half-integer e 2 /h quantized Hall conductance, accompanied by vanishing longitudinal resistance. When the bottom surface is gated to match the top surface in carrier density, only odd integer QH plateaux are observed, representing a half-integer QHE of two degenerate Dirac gases. This system provides an excellent platform to pursue a plethora of exotic physics and novel device applications predicted for TIs, ranging from magnetic monopoles and Majorana particles to dissipationless electronics and fault-tolerant quantum computers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-963
Number of pages8
JournalNature Physics
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 11 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Xu, Y., Miotkowski, I., Liu, C., Tian, J., Nam, H., Alidoust, N., Hu, J., Shih, C. K., Hasan, M. Z., & Chen, Y. P. (2014). Observation of topological surface state quantum Hall effect in an intrinsic three-dimensional topological insulator. Nature Physics, 10(12), 956-963. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3140