Symmetry analysis of strain, electric and magnetic fields in the Bi2Se3-class of topological insulators: Paper

Mathias Rosdahl Brems, Jens Paaske, Anders Mathias Lunde, Morten Willatzen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Based on group theoretical arguments we derive the most general Hamiltonian for the Bi2Se3-class of materials including terms to third order in the wave vector, first order in electric and magnetic fields, first order in strain and first order in both strain and wave vector. We determine analytically the effects of strain on the electronic structure of Bi2Se3. For the most experimentally relevant surface termination we analytically derive the surface state (SS) spectrum, revealing an anisotropic Dirac cone with elliptical constant energy contours giving rise to a direction-dependent group velocity. The spin-momentum locking of strained Bi2Se3 is shown to be modified. Hence, strain control can be used to manipulate the spin degree of freedom via the spin–orbit coupling. We show that for a thin film of Bi2Se3 the SS band gap induced by coupling between the opposite surfaces changes opposite to the bulk band gap under strain. Tuning the SS band gap by strain, gives new possibilities for the experimental investigation of the thickness dependent gap and optimization of optical properties relevant for, e.g., photodetector and energy harvesting applications. We finally derive analytical expressions for the effective mass tensor of the Bi2Se3 class of materials as a function of strain and electric field.
Original languageEnglish
Article number053041
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number5
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Topological insulators
  • Electronic band structure
  • Group theory
  • Strain
  • Electric field


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