Topological insulators (TIs) are a new phase of material that allows metallic conducting electrons at its surface while the bulk is insulating. Besides, the topological surface electrons’ spin orientation is always locked perpendicular to its moving direction, called spin-momentum locking. Our lab studies the intriguing energy transport and dynamics of TIs using optical methods.
We found the surface states electrons can carry 10+ times of heat than the same amount of free electrons. Topological surface electrons can be optical selected by their spin (shown by pump-probe experiment) and thus the gross motion can also be controlled by polarized light (shown by photocurrent experiment).
We thank J. Heremans for valuable discussions.
This work was partly supported by DARPA MESO (Grant No. N66001-11-1-4107) and NSF (EFMA-1641101). J.M. acknowledges support from NSERC (Discovery Grant RGPIN-2016-04881).
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