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  1. Spin chains in solid state materials are quintessential quantum systems with potential applications in spin-based logic, memory, quantum communication, and computation. A critical challenge is the experimental determination of spin lifetimes with the ultimate goal of increasing it. Local measurements by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) have demonstrated the importance of decoupling spins from their environment, with markedly improved lifetimes in spin chains on the surfaces of band insulators. In this work we use low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy to reveal long-lifetime excitations in a chain of spin-1/2 electrons embedded in a charge density wave Mott insulator, 1T-TaS 2 . Naturally occurringmore »domain walls trap chains of localized spin-1/2 electrons in nearby sites, whose energies lie inside the Mott gap. Spin-polarized measurements on these sites show distinct two-level switching noise, as well as negative differential resistance in the dI/dV spectra, typically associated with spin fluctuations. The excitations show exceptionally long lifetimes of a few seconds at 300 mK. Our work suggests that layered Mott insulators in the chalcogenide family, which are amenable to exfoliation and lithography, may provide a viable platform for quantum applications.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 31, 2023
  2. Abstract

    Higher order topological insulators (HOTIs) are a new class of topological materials which host protected states at the corners or hinges of a crystal. HOTIs provide an intriguing alternative platform for helical and chiral edge states and Majorana modes, but there are very few known materials in this class. Recent studies have proposed Bi as a potential HOTI, however, its topological classification is not yet well accepted. In this work, we show that the (110) facets of Bi and BiSb alloys can be used to unequivocally establish the topology of these systems. Bi and Bi0.92Sb0.08(110) films were grown onmore »silicon substrates using molecular beam epitaxy and studied by scanning tunneling spectroscopy. The surfaces manifest rectangular islands which show localized hinge states on three out of the four edges, consistent with the theory for the HOTI phase. This establishes Bi and Bi0.92Sb0.08as HOTIs, and raises questions about the topological classification of the full family of BixSb1−xalloys.

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  3. Abstract

    The physical realization of Chern insulators is of fundamental and practical interest, as they are predicted to host the quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) effect and topologically protected chiral edge states which can carry dissipationless current. Current realizations of the QAH state often require complex heterostructures and sub-Kelvin temperatures, making the discovery of intrinsic, high temperature QAH systems of significant interest. In this work we show that time-reversal symmetry breaking Weyl semimetals, being essentially stacks of Chern insulators with inter-layer coupling, may provide a new platform for the higher temperature realization of robust chiral edge states. We present combined scanningmore »tunneling spectroscopy and theoretical investigations of the magnetic Weyl semimetal, Co3Sn2S2. Using modeling and numerical simulations we find that depending on the strength of the interlayer coupling, chiral edge states can be localized on partially exposed kagome planes on the surfaces of a Weyl semimetal. Correspondingly, our dI/dVmaps on the kagome Co3Sn terraces show topological states confined to the edges which display linear dispersion. This work provides a new paradigm for realizing chiral edge modes and provides a pathway for the realization of higher temperature QAH effect in magnetic Weyl systems in the two-dimensional limit.

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  4. The possible realization of Majorana fermions as quasiparticle excitations in condensed-matter physics has created much excitement. Most studies have focused on Majorana bound states; however, propagating Majorana states with linear dispersion have also been predicted. Here, we report scanning tunneling spectroscopic measurements of crystalline domain walls (DWs) in FeSe 0.45 Te 0.55 . We located DWs across which the lattice structure shifts by half a unit cell. These DWs have a finite, flat density of states inside the superconducting gap, which is a hallmark of linearly dispersing modes in one dimension. This signature is absent in DWs in the relatedmore »superconductor, FeSe, which is not in the topological phase. Our combined data are consistent with the observation of dispersing Majorana states at a π-phase shift DW in a proximitized topological material.« less
  5. A correlated material in the vicinity of an insulator–metal transition (IMT) exhibits rich phenomenology and a variety of interesting phases. A common avenue to induce IMTs in Mott insulators is doping, which inevitably leads to disorder. While disorder is well known to create electronic inhomogeneity, recent theoretical studies have indicated that it may play an unexpected and much more profound role in controlling the properties of Mott systems. Theory predicts that disorder might play a role in driving a Mott insulator across an IMT, with the emergent metallic state hosting a power-law suppression of the density of states (with exponentmore »close to 1; V-shaped gap) centered at the Fermi energy. Such V-shaped gaps have been observed in Mott systems, but their origins are as-yet unknown. To investigate this, we use scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy to study isovalent Ru substitutions in Sr3(Ir1-xRux)2O7(0 ≤x≤ 0.5) which drive the system into an antiferromagnetic, metallic state. Our experiments reveal that many core features of the IMT, such as power-law density of states, pinning of the Fermi energy with increasing disorder, and persistence of antiferromagnetism, can be understood as universal features of a disordered Mott system near an IMT and suggest that V-shaped gaps may be an inevitable consequence of disorder in doped Mott insulators.

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