Group members publish invited review article on Acta Physica Sinica (物理学报)


On November 27, 2019, group members Liu Chang and Liu Xiangrui, published an invited review article entitled "Angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy studies on three dimensional strong topological insulators and magnetic topological insulators" on the journal Acta Physica Sinica of the Chinese Physical Society.

Paper link:

Abstract of Paper:

The discovery of topological materials – condensed matter systems that have nontrivial topological invariants – marked the commencement of a new era in condensed matter physics and materials science. Three dimensional topological insulators (3D TIs) are one of the first discovered and the most studied among all topological materials. The bulk material of the TIs have the characteristics of the insulator, having a complete energy gap. Their surface electronic states, on the other hand, have the characteristics of a conductor, with energy band passes continuously through the Fermi surface. The conductivity of this topological surface state (TSS) is protected by the time reversal symmetry of the bulk material. The TSS is highly spin-polarized and form a special spin-helical configuration that allows electrons with specific spin to migrate only in a specific direction on the surface. By this means, surface electrons in TIs can “bypass” the influence of local impurities, achieving a lossless transmission of spin-polarized current. The existence of TIs directly leads to a variety of novel transport, magnetic, electrical, and optical phenomena, such as non-local quantum transport, quantum spin Hall effect, etc., promising wide application prospects. Recently, several research groups have searched all 230 non-magnetic crystal space groups, exhausting all the found or undiscovered strong/weak TIs, topological crystalline insulators (TCI), and topological semimetals. This series of work marks that theoretical understanding of non-magnetic topological materials has gone through a period of one-by-one prediction and verification, and entered the stage of the large-area material screening and optimization.

Parallel to non-magnetic TIs, magnetic topological materials constructed by ferromagnetic or antiferromagnetic long range orders in topological systems have always been an important direction attracting theoretical and experimental efforts. In magnetic TIs, the lack of time reversal symmetry brings about new physical phenomena. For example, when a ferromagnetic order is introduced into a three-dimensional TI, the Dirac TSS that originally intersected at one point will open a magnetic gap. When the Fermi surface is placed just in the gap, the quantum anomalous Hall effect can be implemented. At present, the research on magnetic topology systems is still in the ascendant. It is foreseeable that these systems will be the main focus and breakthrough point of topology material research in the next few years.

Angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) is one of the most successful experimental methods of solid state physics. Its unique k-space-resolved single-electron detection capability and simple and easy-to-read data format make it a popular choice for both theoretists and experimentalists. In the field of topological materials, ARPES has always been an important experimetnal technique. It is able to directly observe the bulk and surface band structure of crystalline materials, and in a very intuitive way. With ARPES, it is incontrovertible to conclude whether a material is topological, and which type of topological material it belongs to.

This paper reviews the progress of ARPES research on TIs since 2008, focusing on the experimental energy band characteristics of each series of TIs and the general method of using ARPES to study this series of materials. Due to space limitations, this paper only discusses the research progress of ARPES for strong 3D TIs (focusing on the Bi2Se3 series) and magnetic TIs (focusing on the MnBi2Te4 series). Researches involving TCIs, topological Kondo insulators, weak 3D TIs, topological superconductors and heterostructures based on topological insulators will not be discussed. This paper assumes that the reader has the basic knowledge of ARPES, so the basic principles and system components of ARPES are not discussed.