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 language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - Dec 15 2006|
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