Physics of surfaces


Figure. Clover-shaped electronic defect state elucidating the near-surface electronic structure of the "classical" topological insulator Bi2Se3.
cover on Bi2Se3

In the past, scientists studied properties of materials to develop new devices that utilize these properties. In modern nanoscale devices, the intrinsic properties of materials are less relevant, since their behaviors are becoming dominated by the confinement, surfaces and interfaces. Thus, it has become imperative to understand and learn how to engineer properties specific to surface-dominated nanoscale systems. Some of the materials with very special surface properties are topological insulators. Group leader Sergei Urazhdin was the first to recognize these properties in his PhD work at Michigan State University (1997-2002). Topological insulators are a special class of materials in which strong spin-orbit interaction results in topological properties of the band structure. One of the important consequences is a robust surface state with a chiral spin-orbit coupled order. We are currently developing new scanning probe techniques designed for investigation of surface effects in topological insulators and other novel materials with interesting surface properties.

Related group publications

  • “Molecular beam epitaxy and characterization of thin Bi2Se3 films on AlO(110) ” P. Tabor, C. Meenan, S. Urazhdin, and D. Lederman, Appl. Phys. Lett. 83, 013111 (2011)
  • “Surface effects in layered semiconductors Bi2Se3 and Bi2Te3” S. Urazhdin, D.Bilc, S.H. Tessmer, S.D. Mahanti, T.Kyratsi and M.G.Kanatzidis, Phys. Rev. B 69, 085313 (2004)
  • “Scanning tunneling probe microscopy of defect states in the semiconductor Bi2Se3” S. Urazhdin, D.Bilc, S.H. Tessmer, S.D. Mahanti, T.Kyratsi and M.G.Kanatzidis, Phys. Rev. B 66, 161306(R) (2002)