First observation of spin-helical Dirac fermions and topological phases in undoped and doped Bi2Te3 demonstrated by spin-ARPES spectroscopy
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First observation of spin-helical Dirac fermions and topological phases in undoped and doped Bi2Te3 demonstrated by spin-ARPES spectroscopy

  • Author(s): Hsieh, D
  • Xia, Y
  • Qian, D
  • Wray, L
  • Dil, JH
  • Meier, F
  • Patthey, L
  • Osterwalder, J
  • Fedorov, AV
  • Lin, H
  • Bansil, A
  • Grauer, D
  • Hor, YS
  • Cava, RJ
  • Hasan, MZ
  • et al.
Abstract

Electron systems that possess light-like dispersion relations or the conical Dirac spectrum, such as graphene and bismuth, have recently been shown to harbor unusual collective states in high magnetic fields. Such states are possible because their light-like electrons come in spin pairs that are chiral,which means that their direction of propagation is tied to a quantity called pseudospin that describes their location in the crystal lattice. An emerging direction in quantum materials research is the manipulation of atomic spin-orbit coupling to simulate the effect of a spin dependent magnetic field,in attempt to realize novel spin phases of matter. This effect has been proposed to realize systems consisting of unpaired Dirac cones that are helical, meaning their direction of propagation is tied to the electron spin itself, which are forbidden to exist in graphene or bismuth. The experimental existence of topological order can not be determined without spin-resolved measurements. Here we report a spin-and angle-resolved photoemission study of the hexagonal surface of the Bi2Te3 and Bi{2-x}MnxTe3 series, which is found to exhibit a single helical Dirac cone that is fully spin-polarized. Our observations of a gap in the bulk spin-degenerate band and a spin-resolved surface Dirac node close to the chemical potential show that the low energy dynamics of Bi2Te3 is dominated by the unpaired spin-helical Dirac modes. Our spin-texture measurements prove the existence of a rare topological phase in this materials class for the first time, and suggest its suitability for novel 2D Dirac spin device applications beyond the chiral variety or traditional graphene.

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