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  1. We propose an intrinsic mechanism to understand the even-odd effect, namely, opposite signs of anomalous Hall resistance and different shapes of hysteresis loops for even and odd septuple layers (SLs), of MBE-grown MnBi2Te4 thin films with electron doping. The nonzero hysteresis loops in the anomalous Hall effect and magnetic circular dichroism for even-SLs MnBi2Te4 films originate from two different antiferromagnetic (AFM) configurations with different zeroth Landau level energies of surface states. The complex form of the anomalous Hall hysteresis loop can be understood from two magnetic transitions, a transition between two AFM states followed by a second transition to the ferromagnetic state. Our model also clarifies the relationship and distinction between axion parameter and magnetoelectric coefficient, and shows an even-odd oscillation behavior of magnetoelectric coefficients in MnBi2Te4 films. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  2. Abstract

    Rare-earth monopnictides are a family of materials simultaneously displaying complex magnetism, strong electronic correlation, and topological band structure. The recently discovered emergent arc-like surface states in these materials have been attributed to the multi-wave-vector antiferromagnetic order, yet the direct experimental evidence has been elusive. Here we report observation of non-collinear antiferromagnetic order with multiple modulations using spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy. Moreover, we discover a hidden spin-rotation transition of single-to-multiple modulations 2 K below the Néel temperature. The hidden transition coincides with the onset of the surface states splitting observed by our angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy measurements. Single modulation gives rise to a band inversion with induced topological surface states in a local momentum region while the full Brillouin zone carries trivial topological indices, and multiple modulation further splits the surface bands via non-collinear spin tilting, as revealed by our calculations. The direct evidence of the non-collinear spin order in NdSb not only clarifies the mechanism of the emergent topological surface states, but also opens up a new paradigm of control and manipulation of band topology with magnetism.

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  3. Abstract One-dimensional chiral interface channels can be created at the boundary of two quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) insulators with different Chern numbers. Such a QAH junction may function as a chiral edge current distributer at zero magnetic field, but its realization remains challenging. Here, by employing an in-situ mechanical mask, we use molecular beam epitaxy to synthesize QAH insulator junctions, in which two QAH insulators with different Chern numbers are connected along a one-dimensional junction. For the junction between Chern numbers of 1 and −1, we observe quantized transport and demonstrate the appearance of the two parallel propagating chiral interface channels along the magnetic domain wall at zero magnetic field. For the junction between Chern numbers of 1 and 2, our quantized transport shows that a single chiral interface channel appears at the interface. Our work lays the foundation for the development of QAH insulator-based electronic and spintronic devices and topological chiral networks. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  4. A quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) insulator is a topological phase in which the interior is insulating but electrical current flows along the edges of the sample in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, as dictated by the spontaneous magnetization orientation. Such a chiral edge current eliminates any backscattering, giving rise to quantized Hall resistance and zero longitudinal resistance. Here we fabricate mesoscopic QAH sandwich Hall bar devices and succeed in switching the edge current chirality through thermally assisted spin–orbit torque (SOT). The well-quantized QAH states before and after SOT switching with opposite edge current chiralities are demonstrated through four- and three-terminal measurements. We show that the SOT responsible for magnetization switching can be generated by both surface and bulk carriers. Our results further our understanding of the interplay between magnetism and topological states and usher in an easy and instantaneous method to manipulate the QAH state. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  5. Abstract

    Dirac and Weyl semimetals are a central topic of contemporary condensed matter physics, and the discovery of new compounds with Dirac/Weyl electronic states is crucial to the advancement of topological materials and quantum technologies. Here we show a widely applicable strategy that uses high configuration entropy to engineer relativistic electronic states. We take theAMnSb2(A= Ba, Sr, Ca, Eu, and Yb) Dirac material family as an example and demonstrate that mixing of Ba, Sr, Ca, Eu and Yb at theAsite generates the compound (Ba0.38Sr0.14Ca0.16Eu0.16Yb0.16)MnSb2(denoted asA5MnSb2), giving access to a polar structure with a space group that is not present in any of the parent compounds.A5MnSb2is an entropy-stabilized phase that preserves its linear band dispersion despite considerable lattice disorder. Although bothA5MnSb2andAMnSb2have quasi-two-dimensional crystal structures, the two-dimensional Dirac states in the pristineAMnSb2evolve into a highly anisotropic quasi-three-dimensional Dirac state triggered by local structure distortions in the high-entropy phase, which is revealed by Shubnikov–de Haas oscillations measurements.

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  6. The interface between two different materials can show unexpected quantum phenomena. In this study, we used molecular beam epitaxy to synthesize heterostructures formed by stacking together two magnetic materials, a ferromagnetic topological insulator (TI) and an antiferromagnetic iron chalcogenide (FeTe). We observed emergent interface-induced superconductivity in these heterostructures and demonstrated the co-occurrence of superconductivity, ferromagnetism, and topological band structure in the magnetic TI layer—the three essential ingredients of chiral topological superconductivity (TSC). The unusual coexistence of ferromagnetism and superconductivity is accompanied by a high upper critical magnetic field that exceeds the Pauli paramagnetic limit for conventional superconductors at low temperatures. These magnetic TI/FeTe heterostructures with robust superconductivity and atomically sharp interfaces provide an ideal wafer-scale platform for the exploration of chiral TSC and Majorana physics. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 9, 2025
  7. Abstract

    An axion insulator is a three-dimensional (3D) topological insulator (TI), in which the bulk maintains the time-reversal symmetry or inversion symmetry but the surface states are gapped by surface magnetization. The axion insulator state has been observed in molecular beam epitaxy (MBE)-grown magnetically doped TI sandwiches and exfoliated intrinsic magnetic TI MnBi2Te4flakes with an even number layer. All these samples have a thickness of ~ 10 nm, near the 2D-to-3D boundary. The coupling between the top and bottom surface states in thin samples may hinder the observation of quantized topological magnetoelectric response. Here, we employ MBE to synthesize magnetic TI sandwich heterostructures and find that the axion insulator state persists in a 3D sample with a thickness of ~ 106 nm. Our transport results show that the axion insulator state starts to emerge when the thickness of the middle undoped TI layer is greater than ~ 3 nm. The 3D hundred-nanometer-thick axion insulator provides a promising platform for the exploration of the topological magnetoelectric effect and other emergent magnetic topological states, such as the high-order TI phase.

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  8. To date, the quantum anomalous Hall effect has been realized in chromium (Cr)- and/or vanadium(V)-doped topological insulator (Bi,Sb)2Te3 thin films. In this work, we use molecular beam epitaxy to synthesize both V- and Cr-doped Bi2Te3 thin films with controlled dopant concentration. By performing magneto-transport measurements, we find that both systems show an unusual yet similar ferromagnetic response with respect to magnetic dopant concentration; specifically the Curie temperature does not increase monotonically but shows a local maximum at a critical dopant concentration. We attribute this unusual ferromagnetic response observed in Cr/V-doped Bi2Te3 thin films to the dopant-concentration-induced magnetic exchange interaction, which displays evolution from van Vleck-type ferromagnetism in a nontrivial magnetic topological insulator to Ruderman–Kittel–Kasuya–Yosida (RKKY)-type ferromagnetism in a trivial diluted magnetic semiconductor. Our work provides insights into the ferromagnetic properties of magnetically doped topological insulator thin films and facilitates the pursuit of high-temperature quantum anomalous Hall effect. 
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  9. Abstract

    Over the last decade, the possibility of realizing topological superconductivity (TSC) has generated much excitement. TSC can be created in electronic systems where the topological and superconducting orders coexist, motivating the continued exploration of candidate material platforms to this end. Here, we use molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) to synthesize heterostructures that host emergent interfacial superconductivity when a non-superconducting antiferromagnet (FeTe) is interfaced with a topological insulator (TI) (Bi, Sb)2Te3. By performing in-vacuo angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) and ex-situ electrical transport measurements, we find that the superconducting transition temperature and the upper critical magnetic field are suppressed when the chemical potential approaches the Dirac point. We provide evidence to show that the observed interfacial superconductivity and its chemical potential dependence is the result of the competition between the Ruderman-Kittel-Kasuya-Yosida-type ferromagnetic coupling mediated by Dirac surface states and antiferromagnetic exchange couplings that generate the bicollinear antiferromagnetic order in the FeTe layer.

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