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Nanostructured Topological State in Bismuth Nanotube Arrays: Inverting Bonding-antibonding Levels of Molecular Orbitals

Abstract

We demonstrate a new class of nanostructured topological materials that exhibit topological quantum phase arising from nanoscale structural motifs. Based on first-principles calculations, we show that an array of bismuth nanotubes (Bi-NTs), a superlattice of Bi-NTs with a periodicity in the order of tube diameter, behaves as a nanostructured two-dimensional (2D) quantum spin Hall (QSH) insulator, as confirmed from the calculated band topology and 1D helical edge states. The underpinning mechanism of QSH phase in the Bi-NT array is revealed to be inversion of bonding-antibonding levels of molecular orbitals of constituent nanostructural elements in place of atomic-orbital band inversion in conventional QSH insulators. The quantized edge conductance of QSH phase in Bi-NT array can be more easily isolated from bulk contributions and their properties can be highly tuned by tube size, representing distinctive advantages of nanostructured topological phases. Our finding opens a new avenue of topological materials by extending topological phases into nanomaterials with molecular-orbital-band inversion.

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Jul 2017, accepted on 02 Oct 2017 and first published on 12 Oct 2017


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR05325H
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Nanostructured Topological State in Bismuth Nanotube Arrays: Inverting Bonding-antibonding Levels of Molecular Orbitals

    K. Jin, S. Jhi and F. Liu, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR05325H

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