Weak topological insulators in PbTe/SnTe superlattices

Gang Yang, Junwei Liu, Liang Fu, Wenhui Duan, Chaoxing Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


It is desirable to realize topological phases in artificial structures by engineering electronic band structures. In this paper we investigate (PbTe)m(SnTe)2n-m superlattices along the [001] direction and find a robust weak topological insulator phase for a large variety of layer numbers m and 2n-m. We confirm this topologically nontrivial phase by calculating Z2 topological invariants and topological surface states based on the first-principles calculations. We show that the folding of Brillouin zone due to the superlattice structure plays an essential role in inducing topologically nontrivial phases in this system. This mechanism can be generalized to other systems in which band inversion occurs at multiple momenta, and gives us a brand new way to engineer topological materials in artificial structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number085312
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 24 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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