Ames Laboratory; Physics and Astronomy
Ames Laboratory, Physics and Astronomy
Physical Review B
A striking feature of time-reversal symmetry (TRS) protected topological insulators (TIs) is that they are characterized by a half integer quantum Hall effect on the boundary when the surface states are gapped by time-reversal breaking perturbations. While TRS-protected TIs have become increasingly under control, magnetic analogs are still a largely unexplored territory with novel rich structures. In particular, magnetic topological insulators can also host a quantized axion term in the presence of lattice symmetries. Since these symmetries are naturally broken on the boundary, the surface states can develop a gap without external manipulation. In this paper, we combine theoretical analysis, density-functional calculations and experimental evidence to reveal intrinsic axion insulating behavior in MnBi6Te10. The quantized axion term arises from the simplest possible mechanism in the antiferromagnetic regime where it is protected by inversion symmetry and the product of a fractional translation and TRS. The anticipated gapping of the Dirac surface state at the edge is subsequently experimentally established using angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES). As a result, this system provides the magnetic analog of the simplest TRS-protected TI with a single, gapped Dirac cone at the surface.
DOE Contract Number(s)
AC02-07CH11358; DMR-1420451; AC05-00OR22725
Iowa State University Digital Repository, Ames IA (United States)