Experimentelle Physik IV

    Matthias Schmitt (PhD thesis): High Energy Spin- and Momentum-Resolved Photoelectron Spectroscopy of Complex Oxides

    Two-dimensional (2D) topological insulators are a new class of materials with properties that are promising for potential future applications in quantum computers. For example, stanene represents a possible candidate for a topological insulator made of Sn atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. However, it has a relatively fragile low-energy spectrum and sensitive topology. Therefore, to experimentally realize stanene in the topologically non-trivial phase, a suitable substrate that accommodates stanene without compromising these topological properties must be found. A heterostructure consisting of a SiC substrate with a buffer layer of adsorbed group-III elements constitutes a possible solution for this problem. In this work, 2D adatom systems of Al and In were grown epitaxially on SiC(0001) and then investigated structurally and spectroscopically by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and photoelectron spectroscopy. Al films in the high coverage regime (ΘML 2 ML) exhibit unusually large, triangularand rectangular-shaped surface unit cells. Here, the low-energy electron diffraction (LEED) pattern is brought into accordance with the surface topography derived from STM. Another Al reconstruction, the quasi-one-dimensional (1D) Al phase, exhibits a striped surface corrugation, which could be the result of the strain imprinted by the overlayer-substrate lattice mismatch. It is suggested that Al atoms in different surface areas can occupy hexagonal close-packed and face-centered cubic lattice sites, respectively, which in turn lead to close-packed transition regions forming the stripe-like corrugations. On the basis of the well-known herringbone reconstruction from Au(111), a first structural model is proposed, which fits well to the structural data from STM. Ultimately, however, thermal treatments of the sample could not generate lower coverage phases, i.e. in particular, a buffer layer structure. Strong metallic signatures are found for In high coverage films (ΘML 3 to 2 ML) by scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) and angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (ARPES), which form a (7 × 7), (6 × 43), and (43 × 43) surface reconstruction. In all these In phases electrons follow the nearly-free electron model. Similar to the Al films, thermal treatments could not obtain the buffer layer system. Surprisingly, in the course of this investigation a triangular In lattice featuring a (1 × 1) periodicity is observed to host massive Dirac-like bands at K/Kin ARPES. Based on this strong electronic similarity with graphene at the Brillouin zone boundary, this new structure is referred to as indenene. An extensive theoretical analysis uncovers the emergence of an electronic honeycomb network based on triangularly arranged In p orbitals. Due to strong atomic spin-orbit coupling and a comparably small substrate-induced in-plane inversion symmetry breaking this material system is rendered topologically non-trivial. In indenene, the topology is intimately linked to a bulk observable, i.e., the energy-dependent charge accumulation sequence within the surface unit cell, which is experimentally exploited in STS to confirm the non-trivial topological character. The band gap at K/K, a signature of massive Dirac fermions, is estimated by ARPES to approximately 125 meV. Further investigations by X-ray standing wave, STM, and LEED confirm the structural properties of indenene. Thus, this thesis presents the growth and characterization of the novel quantum spin Hall insulator material indenene.