Professor Arun Bansil and Research Associate Dr. Hsin Lin are authors to an article published in Nature Physics on spin degrees and phenomena on surfaces of topological materials. “Hedgehog Spin Textures and Berry’s Phase Tuning in a Magnetic Topological Insulator” was published online on June 24, 2012, in Nature Physics.
Understanding and control of spin degrees of freedom on the surfaces of topological materials are key to future applications as well as for realizing novel physics such as the axion electrodynamics associated with time-reversal (TR) symmetry breaking on the surface. We experimentally demonstrate magnetically induced spin reorientation phenomena simultaneous with a Dirac-metal to gapped-insulator transition on the surfaces of manganese-doped Bi2Se3 thin films. The resulting electronic groundstate exhibits unique hedgehog-like spin textures at low energies, which directly demonstrate the mechanics of TR symmetry breaking on the surface. We further show that an insulating gap induced by quantum tunnelling between surfaces exhibits spin texture modulation at low energies but respects TR invariance. These spin phenomena and the control of their Fermi surface geometrical phase first demonstrated in our experiments pave the way for the future realization of many predicted exotic magnetic phenomena of topological origin.