Engineering the breaking of time-reversal symmetry in gate-tunable hybrid ferromagnet/topological insulator heterostructures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Studying the influence of broken time-reversal symmetry on topological materials is an important fundamental problem of current interest in condensed matter physics and its understanding could also provide a route toward proof-of-concept spintronic devices that exploit spin-textured topological states. Here we develop a new model quantum material for studying the effect of breaking time-reversal symmetry: a hybrid heterostructure wherein a ferromagnetic semiconductor Ga1−xMnxAs, with an out-of-plane component of magnetization, is cleanly interfaced with a topological insulator (Bi,Sb)2(Te,Se)3 by molecular beam epitaxy. Lateral electrical transport in this bilayer is dominated by conduction through (Bi,Sb)2(Te,Se)3 whose conductivity is a few orders of magnitude higher than that of highly resistive Ga1−xMnxAs. Electrical transport measurements in a top-gated heterostructure device reveal a crossover from weak antilocalization to weak localization as the temperature is lowered or as the chemical potential approaches the Dirac point. This is accompanied by a systematic emergence of an anomalous Hall effect. These results are interpreted in terms of the opening of a gap at the Dirac point due to exchange coupling between the topological insulator surface state and the ferromagnetic ordering in Ga1−xMnxAs. The experiments described here show that well-developed III–V ferromagnetic semiconductors could serve as valuable components of artificially designed quantum materials aimed at exploring the interplay between magnetism and topological phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number51
Journalnpj Quantum Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Engineering the breaking of time-reversal symmetry in gate-tunable hybrid ferromagnet/topological insulator heterostructures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this