Engineering a Robust Quantum Spin Hall State in Graphene via Adatom Deposition

  • Weeks C
  • Hu J
  • Alicea J
 et al. 
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Abstract

The 2007 discovery of quantized conductance in HgTe quantum wells delivered the field of topological insulators (TIs) its first experimental confirmation. While many three-dimensional TIs have since been identified, HgTe remains the only known two-dimensional system in this class. Difficulty fabricating HgTe quantum wells has, moreover, hampered their widespread use. With the goal of breaking this logjam we provide a blueprint for stabilizing a robust TI state in a more readily available two-dimensional material---graphene. Using symmetry arguments, density functional theory, and tight-binding simulations, we predict that graphene endowed with certain heavy adatoms realizes a TI with substantial band gap. For indium and thallium, our most promising adatom candidates, a modest 6% coverage produces an estimated gap near 80K and 240K, respectively, which should be detectable in transport or spectroscopic measurements. Engineering such a robust topological phase in graphene could pave the way for a new generation of devices for spintronics, ultra-low-dissipation electronics and quantum information processing.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Graphene
  • Topological Insulators

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Authors

  • Conan Weeks

  • Jun Hu

  • Jason Alicea

  • Marcel Franz

  • Ruqian Wu

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