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Photoinduced transition between conventional and topological insulators in two-dimensional electronic systems.

Authors
  • Inoue, Jun-Ichi
  • Tanaka, Akihiro
Type
Published Article
Journal
Physical Review Letters
Publisher
American Physical Society
Publication Date
Jul 02, 2010
Volume
105
Issue
1
Pages
17401–17401
Identifiers
PMID: 20867474
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Manipulating the topological properties of insulators, encoded in invariants such as the Chern number and its generalizations, is now a major issue for realizing novel charge or spin responses in electron systems. We propose that a simple optical means, subjecting to a driving laser field with circular polarization, can be fruitfully incorporated to this end. Taking as a prototypical example the two-band insulator first considered by Haldane, we show how the electron system can be tuned through phases associated with different Chern numbers as the laser intensity is adiabatically swept, i.e., a photoinduced analog of the quantum Hall plateau transition. The implications of our findings include the possibility of laser tuning a conventional insulator into a quantum spin Hall system.

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