The hallmark of a topologically insulating state of matter in two dimensions protected by time-reversal symmetry is the existence of chiral edge modes propagating along the perimeter of the sample. Among the first systems predicted to be a two-dimensional topological insulator are bilayers of bismuth. Here we report scanning tunnelling microscopy experiments on bulk Bi crystals that show that a subset of the predicted Bi-bilayers' edge states are decoupled from the states of the substrate and provide direct spectroscopic evidence of their one-dimensional nature. Moreover, by visualizing the quantum interference of edge-mode quasi-particles in confined geometries, we demonstrate their remarkable coherent propagation along the edge with scattering properties consistent with strong suppression of backscattering as predicted for the propagating topological edge states.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)