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Breaking time reversal symmetry in topological insulators

  • Cui-Zu Chang (a1), Peng Wei (a2) and Jagadeesh S. Moodera (a3)
Abstract
Abstract

A wide class of materials that were discovered to carry a topologically protected phase order has led to a highly active area of research called topological insulators (TIs). This phenomenon has radically changed our thinking because of the robust quantum coherent behavior showing two-dimensional Dirac-type metallic surface states (SSs) and simultaneously insulating bulk states. The Dirac SSs are induced by the strong spin–orbit coupling as well as protected by time reversal symmetry (TRS). Breaking TRS in a TI with ferromagnetic perturbation can lead to many exotic quantum phenomena, such as the quantum anomalous Hall effect, topological magnetoelectric effect, as well as image magnetic monopole. This article presents an overview of the current status of TRS breaking in TIs and outlines the prospects for future studies.

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