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Robust 2D Topological Insulators in van der Waals Heterostructures

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journal contribution
posted on 28.10.2014, 00:00 by Liangzhi Kou, Shu-Chun Wu, Claudia Felser, Thomas Frauenheim, Changfeng Chen, Binghai Yan
We predict a family of robust two-dimensional (2D) topological insulators in van der Waals heterostructures comprising graphene and chalcogenides BiTeX (X = Cl, Br, and I). The layered structures of both constituent materials produce a naturally smooth interface that is conducive to proximity-induced topological states. First-principles calculations reveal intrinsic topologically nontrivial bulk energy gaps as large as 70–80 meV, which can be further enhanced up to 120 meV by compression. The strong spin–orbit coupling in BiTeX has a significant influence on the graphene Dirac states, resulting in the topologically nontrivial band structure, which is confirmed by calculated nontrivial Z2 index and an explicit demonstration of metallic edge states. Such heterostructures offer a unique Dirac transport system that combines the 2D Dirac states from graphene and 1D Dirac edge states from the topological insulator, and it offers ideas for innovative device designs.