Ultrathin films of three-dimensional topological insulators by vapor-phase epitaxy: Surface dominant transport in a wide temperature range as revealed by measurements of the Seebeck effect

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Abstract

Realization of intrinsic surface dominant transport in a wide temperature region for topological insulators (TIs) is an important frontier research to promote the progress of TIs toward future electronics. We report here systematic measurements of longitudinal electrical transport, Shubnikov-de Haas (SdH) quantum oscillations, the Hall coefficient (RH2D), and the Seebeck coefficient as a function of film thickness (d) and temperature using high-quality Bi2-xSbxTe3-ySey single-crystal thin films grown by physical vapor-phase deposition. The thickness dependence of sheet conductance and the Seebeck coefficient clearly shows the suppression of semiconducting hole carriers of bulk states by reducing film thickness, reaching to the surface dominant transport at below dc=14nm. Quantitative arguments are made as to how the contribution of itinerant carrier number (n) can be suppressed, using both RH2D (nHall2D) and SdH (nSdH). Intriguingly, the value of nHall2D approaches being twice that of nSdH below dc. While RH2D shows a negative sign in the whole temperature region, a change from negative to positive polarity is clearly observed for S at high temperatures when d is thick. We point out that this inconsistency observed between RH2D and S is intrinsic in three-dimensional (3D) TIs and its origin is the large difference in carrier mobility between the bulk and the topological surface. We propose that the Seebeck coefficient can become a convenient and effective tool to evaluate the intrinsic topological surface transport of 3D TIs in the absence of magnetic field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195302
JournalPhysical Review B
Volume99
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 13

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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