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Book Chapter

Topological Insulators


Yan,  Binghai
Binghai Yan, Inorganic Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;


Felser,  Claudia
Claudia Felser, Inorganic Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Müchler, L., Yan, B., Casper, F., Chadov, S., & Felser, C. (2013). Topological Insulators. In K. Koumoto, & T. Mori (Eds.), Thermoelectric Nanomaterials (pp. 123-139). Berlin; Heidelberg: Springer.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0027-C1B0-E
The recent discovery of a new class of materials, the so-called topological insulators [1–5]. has generated a great interest in the fields of condensed matter physics and materials science [1]. In principle, according to their band structure, compounds can be divided into metals and insulators. Recently a new class of the so-called topological states has emerged, the Quantum Spin Hall (QSH) state in two and three dimensions. The respective materials are called "topological insulators". The 3D topological insulators have a full insulating gap in the bulk, but a topological protected gapless surface or edge states on the boundary [6–8]. Additionally the 2D topological insulators (e.g. HgTe [9, 10], are metallic in the bulk, but can be designed as topological insulators in quantum well structures with a trivial semiconductors such as CdTe. A topological insulator can easily be identified by a few simple rules: the presents of a large spin orbit coupling, an odd number of band inversions between the conduction and the valence band by increasing the average nuclear charge, and a sign change of the symmetry of the molecular orbitals [11]. Similiar features are favorable for thermoelectric properties, thus topological insulators may be good thermoelectric materials and vice versa. Here we present a short introduction to topological insulators and give examples of compound classes where both topological insulators and good thermoelectric properties can be found.