Emergence of non-centrosymmetric topological insulating phase in BiTeI under pressure

M.S. Bahramy, B.-J. Yang, R. Arita, N. Nagaosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The spin–orbit interaction affects the electronic structure of solids in various ways. Topological insulators are one example in which the spin–orbit interaction leads the bulk bands to have a non-trivial topology, observable as gapless surface or edge states. Another example is the Rashba effect, which lifts the electron-spin degeneracy as a consequence of the spin–orbit interaction under broken inversion symmetry. It is of particular importance to know how these two effects, that is, the non-trivial topology of electronic states and the Rashba spin splitting, interplay with each other. Here we show through sophisticated first-principles calculations that BiTeI, a giant bulk Rashba semiconductor, turns into a topological insulator under a reasonable pressure. This material is shown to exhibit several unique features, such as a highly pressure-tunable giant Rashba spin splitting, an unusual pressure-induced quantum phase transition, and more importantly, the formation of strikingly different Dirac surface states at opposite sides of the material.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Communications
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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