Evidence for higher order topology in Bi and Bi0.92Sb0.08

Leena Aggarwal, Penghao Zhu, Taylor L. Hughes, Vidya Madhavan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Higher order topological insulators (HOTIs) are a new class of topological materials which host protected states at the corners or hinges of a crystal. HOTIs provide an intriguing alternative platform for helical and chiral edge states and Majorana modes, but there are very few known materials in this class. Recent studies have proposed Bi as a potential HOTI, however, its topological classification is not yet well accepted. In this work, we show that the (110) facets of Bi and BiSb alloys can be used to unequivocally establish the topology of these systems. Bi and Bi0.92Sb0.08 (110) films were grown on silicon substrates using molecular beam epitaxy and studied by scanning tunneling spectroscopy. The surfaces manifest rectangular islands which show localized hinge states on three out of the four edges, consistent with the theory for the HOTI phase. This establishes Bi and Bi0.92Sb0.08 as HOTIs, and raises questions about the topological classification of the full family of BixSb1−x alloys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4420
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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