Magnetic quantum phase transition in Cr-doped Bi2(SexTe1-x)3 driven by the Stark effect (English)

In: Nature nanotechnology   ;  12 ,  10  ;  2017
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The recent experimental observation of the quantum anomalous Hall effect has cast significant attention on magnetic topological insulators. In these magnetic counterparts of conventional topological insulators such as Bi2 Te3 , a long-range ferromagnetic state can be established by chemical doping with transition-metal elements. However, a much richer electronic phase diagram can emerge and, in the specific case of Cr-doped Bi2 (Sex Te1-x )3 , a magnetic quantum phase transition tuned by the actual chemical composition has been reported. From an application-oriented perspective, the relevance of these results hinges on the possibility to manipulate magnetism and electronic band topology by external perturbations such as an electric field generated by gate electrodes--similar to what has been achieved in conventional diluted magnetic semiconductors. Here, we investigate the magneto-transport properties of Cr-doped Bi2 (Sex Te1-x )3 with different compositions under the effect of a gate voltage. The electric field has a negligible effect on magnetic order for all investigated compositions, with the remarkable exception of the sample close to the topological quantum critical point, where the gate voltage reversibly drives a ferromagnetic-to-paramagnetic phase transition. Theoretical calculations show that a perpendicular electric field causes a shift in the electronic energy levels due to the Stark effect, which induces a topological quantum phase transition and, in turn, a magnetic phase transition.

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