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Journal Article

Bi12Rh3Cu2I5: A 3D Weak Topological Insulator with Monolayer Spacers and Independent Transport Channels


Ruck,  Michael
Michael Ruck, Max Planck Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Carrillo-Aravena, E., Finzel, K., Ray, R., Richter, M., Heider, T., Cojocariu, I., et al. (2022). Bi12Rh3Cu2I5: A 3D Weak Topological Insulator with Monolayer Spacers and Independent Transport Channels. Physica Status Solidi B, 2100447, pp. 1-12. doi:10.1002/pssb.202100447.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-F317-B
Topological insulators (TIs) are semiconductors with protected electronic surface states that allow dissipation-free transport. TIs are envisioned as ideal materials for spintronics and quantum computing. In Bi14Rh3I9, the first weak 3D TI, topology presumably arises from stacking of the intermetallic [(Bi4Rh)(3)I](2+) layers, which are predicted to be 2D TIs and to possess protected edge-states, separated by topologically trivial [Bi2I8](2-) octahedra chains. In the new layered salt Bi12Rh3Cu2I5, the same intermetallic layers are separated by planar, i.e., only one atom thick, [Cu2I4](2-) anions. Density functional theory (DFT)-based calculations show that the compound is a weak 3D TI, characterized by Z 2 = ( 0 ; 0001 ) , and that the topological gap is generated by strong spin-orbit coupling (E (g,calc.) similar to 10 meV). According to a bonding analysis, the copper cations prevent strong coupling between the TI layers. The calculated surface spectral function for a finite-slab geometry shows distinct characteristics for the two terminations of the main crystal faces ⟨001⟩, viz., [(Bi4Rh)(3)I](2+) and [Cu2I4](2-). Photoelectron spectroscopy data confirm the calculated band structure. In situ four-point probe measurements indicate a highly anisotropic bulk semiconductor (E (g,exp.) = 28 meV) with path-independent metallic conductivity restricted to the surface as well as temperature-independent conductivity below 60 K.