Helical edge and surface states in HgTe quantum wells and bulk insulators

Xi Dai, Taylor L. Hughes, Xiao Liang Qi, Zhong Fang, Shou Cheng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The quantum spin Hall (QSH) effect is the property of a new state of matter which preserves time reversal, has an energy gap in the bulk, but has topologically robust gapless states at the edge. Recently, the QSH state has been theoretically predicted and experimentally observed in HgTe quantum wells. In this work, we start from realistic tight-binding models and demonstrate the existence of the helical edge states in HgTe quantum wells and calculate their physical properties. We also show that three-dimensional HgTe is a topological insulator under uniaxial strain and show that the surface states are described by single-component massless relativistic Dirac fermions in 2+1 dimensions. Experimental predictions are made based on the quantitative results obtained from realistic calculations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125319
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 14 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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