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Tuning Displacement Fields in a Two-Dimensional Topological Insulator Using Nanopatterned Gates

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posted on 2024-06-06, 16:06 authored by Arman Rashidi, Sina Ahadi, Simon Munyan, William J. Mitchell, Susanne Stemmer
Epitaxial heterostructures with topological insulators enable novel quantum phases and practical device applications. Their topological electronic states are sensitive to the microscopic parameters, including structural inversion asymmetry (SIA), which is an inherent feature of many real heterostructures. Controlling SIA is challenging, because it requires the ability to tune the displacement field across the topological film. Here, using nanopatterned gates, we demonstrate a tunable displacement field in a heterostructure of the two-dimensional topological insulator cadmium arsenide. Transport studies in magnetic fields reveal an extreme sensitivity of the band inversion to SIA. We show that a relatively small displacement field (∼50 mV/nm) converts the crossing of the two zeroth Landau levels in magnetic field to an avoided crossing, signaling a change to trivial band order. This work demonstrates a universal methodology for tuning electronic states in topological thin films.

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