Atomically smooth ultrathin films of topological insulator Sb2Te3

Guang Wang, Xiegang Zhu, Jing Wen, Xi Chen, Ke He, Lili Wang, Xucun Ma, Ying Liu, Xi Dai, Zhong Fang, Jinfeng Jia, Qikun Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The growth and characterization of single-crystalline thin films of topological insulators (TIs) is an important step towards their possible applications. Using in situ scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES), we show that moderately thick Sb2Te3 films grown layer-by-layer by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) on Si(111) are atomically smooth, single-crystalline, and intrinsically insulating. Furthermore, these films were found to exhibit a robust TI electronic structure with their Fermi energy lying within the energy gap of the bulk that intersects only the Dirac cone of the surface states. Depositing Cs in situ moves the Fermi energy of the Sb2Te3 films without changing the electronic band structure, as predicted by theory. We found that the TI behavior is preserved in Sb2Te3 films down to five quintuple layers (QLs).[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)874-880
Number of pages7
JournalNano Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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