Large-Gap Magnetic Topological Heterostructure Formed by Subsurface Incorporation of a Ferromagnetic Layer

Nano Lett. 2017 Jun 14;17(6):3493-3500. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b00560. Epub 2017 Jun 5.


Inducing magnetism into topological insulators is intriguing for utilizing exotic phenomena such as the quantum anomalous Hall effect (QAHE) for technological applications. While most studies have focused on doping magnetic impurities to open a gap at the surface-state Dirac point, many undesirable effects have been reported to appear in some cases that makes it difficult to determine whether the gap opening is due to the time-reversal symmetry breaking or not. Furthermore, the realization of the QAHE has been limited to low temperatures. Here we have succeeded in generating a massive Dirac cone in a MnBi2Se4/Bi2Se3 heterostructure, which was fabricated by self-assembling a MnBi2Se4 layer on top of the Bi2Se3 surface as a result of the codeposition of Mn and Se. Our experimental results, supported by relativistic ab initio calculations, demonstrate that the fabricated MnBi2Se4/Bi2Se3 heterostructure shows ferromagnetism up to room temperature and a clear Dirac cone gap opening of ∼100 meV without any other significant changes in the rest of the band structure. It can be considered as a result of the direct interaction of the surface Dirac cone and the magnetic layer rather than a magnetic proximity effect. This spontaneously formed self-assembled heterostructure with a massive Dirac spectrum, characterized by a nontrivial Chern number C = -1, has a potential to realize the QAHE at significantly higher temperatures than reported up to now and can serve as a platform for developing future "topotronics" devices.

Keywords: Topological insulators; magnetism; massive Dirac cone; quantum anomalous Hall effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't