Metal-to-insulator switching in quantum anomalous Hall states

Nat Commun. 2015 Oct 7;6:8474. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9474.


After decades of searching for the dissipationless transport in the absence of any external magnetic field, quantum anomalous Hall effect (QAHE) was recently achieved in magnetic topological insulator films. However, the universal phase diagram of QAHE and its relation with quantum Hall effect (QHE) remain to be investigated. Here, we report the experimental observation of the giant longitudinal resistance peak and zero Hall conductance plateau at the coercive field in the six quintuple-layer (Cr(0.12)Bi(0.26)Sb(0.62))2Te3 film, and demonstrate the metal-to-insulator switching between two opposite QAHE plateau states up to 0.3 K. Moreover, the universal QAHE phase diagram is confirmed through the angle-dependent measurements. Our results address that the quantum phase transitions in both QAHE and QHE regimes are in the same universality class, yet the microscopic details are different. In addition, the realization of the QAHE insulating state unveils new ways to explore quantum phase-related physics and applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.