Topological insulators are new class of materials which arecharacterized by a bulk band gap like ordinary band insulatorsbut have protected conducting states on their edgesor surfaces. These states emerge due to the combination ofspin-orbit coupling and time reversal symmetry. Also, thesestates are insensitive to scattering by non-magnetic impurities.A two-dimensional topological insulator has one dimensionaledge states in which the spin-momentum locking ofthe electrons give rise to quantum spin Hall effect. A threedimensionaltopological insulator supports novel spin-polarized2D Dirac fermions on its surface. These topological insulatormaterials have been theoretically predicted and experimentallyobserved in a variety of 2D and 3D systems, includingHgTe quantum wells, BiSb alloys, and Bi2Te3, Bi2Se3 crystals.Moreover, proximity induced superconductivity in these systemscan lead to a state that supports zero energy Majoranafermions, and the phase is known as topological superconductors.In this article, the basic idea of topological insulatorsand topological superconductors are presented alongwith their experimental development.
Volume 26 | Issue 4