Quantum spin hall effect and topological phase transition in HgTe quantum wells

B. Andrei Bernevig, Taylor L. Hughes, Shou Cheng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3968 Scopus citations

Abstract

We show that the quantum spin Hall (QSH) effect, a state of matter with topological properties distinct from those of conventional insulators, can be realized in mercury telluride-cadmium telluride semiconductor quantum wells. When the thickness of the quantum well is varied, the electronic state changes from a normal to an "inverted" type at a critical thickness d c. We show that this transition is a topological quantum phase transition between a conventional insulating phase and a phase exhibiting the QSH effect with a single pair of helical edge states. We also discuss methods for experimental detection of the QSH effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1757-1761
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume314
Issue number5806
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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