Magnetic topological insulators

Yoshinori Tokura, Kenji Yasuda, Atsushi Tsukazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

432 Citations (Scopus)


The importance of global band topology is unequivocally recognized in condensed matter physics, and new states of matter, such as topological insulators, have been discovered. Owing to their bulk band topology, 3D topological insulators possess a massless Dirac dispersion with spin–momentum locking at the surface. Although 3D topological insulators were originally proposed in time-reversal invariant systems, the onset of a spontaneous magnetization or, equivalently, a broken time-reversal symmetry leads to the formation of an exchange gap in the Dirac band dispersion. In such magnetic topological insulators, tuning of the Fermi level in the exchange gap results in the emergence of a quantum Hall effect at zero magnetic field, that is, of a quantum anomalous Hall effect. Here, we review the basic concepts of magnetic topological insulators and their experimental realization, together with the discovery and verification of their emergent properties. In particular, we discuss how the development of tailored materials through heterostructure engineering has made it possible to access the quantum anomalous Hall effect, the topological magnetoelectric effect, the physics related to the chiral edge states that appear in these materials and various spintronic phenomena. Further theoretical and experimental research on magnetic topological insulators will provide fertile ground for the development of new concepts for next-generation electronic devices for applications such as spintronics with low energy consumption, dissipationless topological electronics and topological quantum computation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-143
Number of pages18
JournalNature Reviews Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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