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Intrinsic conduction through topological surface states of insulating Bi2Te3 epitaxial thin films

MPS-Authors
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Hoefer,  Katharina
Physics of Correlated Matter, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Becker,  Christoph
Physics of Correlated Matter, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

Rata,  Diana
Diana Rata, Physics of Correlated Matter, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Swanson,  Jesse
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

Thalmeier,  Peter
Peter Thalmeier, Physics of Correlated Matter, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Tjeng,  L. H.
Liu Hao Tjeng, Physics of Correlated Matter, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Hoefer, K., Becker, C., Rata, D., Swanson, J., Thalmeier, P., & Tjeng, L. H. (2014). Intrinsic conduction through topological surface states of insulating Bi2Te3 epitaxial thin films. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111 (42 ), 14979-14984. doi:10.1073/pnas.1410591111.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-2876-0
Abstract
Topological insulators represent a novel state of matter with surface charge carriers having a massless Dirac dispersion and locked helical spin polarization. Many exciting experiments have been proposed by theory, yet their execution has been hampered by the extrinsic conductivity associated with the unavoidable presence of defects in Bi2Te3 and Bi2Se3 bulk single crystals, as well as impurities on their surfaces. Here we present the preparation of Bi2Te3 thin films that are insulating in the bulk and the four-point probe measurement of the conductivity of the Dirac states on surfaces that are intrinsically clean. The total amount of charge carriers in the experiment is of the order of 1012 cm−2 only, and mobilities up to 4,600 cm2/Vs have been observed. These values are achieved by carrying out the preparation, structural characterization, angle-resolved and X-ray photoemission analysis, and temperature-dependent four-point probe conductivity measurement all in situ under ultra-high-vacuum conditions. This experimental approach opens the way to prepare devices that can exploit the intrinsic topological properties of the Dirac surface states.