Unprotected edge modes in quantum spin Hall insulator candidate materials

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A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
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Physical Review B, Volume 107, issue 4
The experiments in quantum spin Hall insulator candidate materials, such as HgTe/CdTe and InAs/GaSb heterostructures, indicate that in addition to the topologically protected helical edge modes, these multilayer heterostructures may also support additional edge states, which can contribute to scattering and transport. We use first-principles calculations to derive an effective tight-binding model for HgTe/CdTe, HgS/CdTe, and InAs/GaSb heterostructures, and we show that all these materials support additional edge states which are sensitive to edge termination. We trace the microscopic origin of these states back to a minimal model supporting flat bands with a nontrivial quantum geometry that gives rise to polarization charges at the edges. We show that the polarization charges transform into additional edge states when the flat bands are coupled to each other and to the other states to form the Hamiltonian describing the full heterostructure. Interestingly, in HgTe/CdTe quantum wells the additional edge statesare far away from the Fermi level so that they do not contribute to the transport, but in the HgS/CdTe and InAs/GaSb heterostructures they appear within the bulk energy gap, giving rise to the possibility of multimode edge transport. Finally, we demonstrate that because these additional edge modes are nontopological it is possible to remove them from the bulk energy gap by modifying the edge potential, for example, with the help of a side gate or chemical doping.
Funding Information: The research was partially supported by the Foundation for Polish Science through the IRA Programme cofinanced by EU within Smart Growth Operational Programme (Grant No. MAB/2017/1). T.H. acknowledges the computational resources provided by the Aalto Science-IT project and the financial support from the Academy of Finland Project No. 331094. W.B. acknowledges support by Narodowe Centrum Nauki (NCN, National Science Centre, Poland) Project No. 2019/34/E/ST3/00404. R.I. and C.A. acknowledge support by the National Science Center in the framework of the “PRELUDIUM” (Decision No. DEC-2020/37/N/ST3/02338). We acknowledge the access to the computing facilities of the Interdisciplinary Center of Modeling at the University of Warsaw, Grants No. G75-10, No. G84-0, and No. GB84-1. We acknowledge the CINECA award under the ISCRA initiatives IsC93 “RATIO” and IsC99 “SILENTS” grant, for the availability of high-performance computing resources and support. Publisher Copyright: © 2023 American Physical Society.
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Nguyen , N M , Cuono , G , Islam , R , Autieri , C , Hyart , T & Brzezicki , W 2023 , ' Unprotected edge modes in quantum spin Hall insulator candidate materials ' , Physical Review B , vol. 107 , no. 4 , 045138 , pp. 1-12 . https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.107.045138