Experimentelle Physik IV

    Raul Stühler (PhD thesis): Growth and Spectroscopy of the Two-dimensional Topological Insulator Bismuthene on SiC(0001)

    A plethora of novel material concepts are currently being investigated in the condensed matter research community. Some of them hold promise to shape our everyday world in a way that silicon-based semiconductor materials and the related development of semiconductor devices have done in the past. In this regard, the last decades have witnessed an explosion of studies concerned with so called \quantum materials" with emerging novel functionalies. These could eventually lead to new generations of electronic and/or spintronic devices. One particular material class, the so called topological materials, play a central role. As far as their technological applicability is concerned, however, they are still facing outstanding challenges to date. Predicted for the first time in 2005 [1{3] and experimentally verified in 2007 [4], twodimensional topological insulators (2D TIs) (a.k.a. quantum spin Hall insulators) exhibit the outstanding property of hosting spin-polarized metallic states along the boundaries of the insulating 2D bulk material, which are protected from elastic single-particle backscattering and give rise to the quantum spin Hall effect (QSHE). Owing to these peculiar properties the QSHE holds promise for dissipationless charge and/or spin transport. However, also in todays best 2D TIs the observation of the QSHE is still limited to cryogenic temperatures of maximum 100 K [5]. Here, the discovery of bismuthene on SiC(0001) [6, 7] has marked a milestone towards a possible realization of the QSHE at or beyond room-temperature owing to the massively increased electronic bulk energy gap on the order of 1 eV. This thesis is devoted to and motivated by the goal of advancing its synthesis and to build a deeper understanding of its one-particle and two-particle electronic properties that goes beyond prior work in Refs. [6{8]. Regarding the aspect of material synthesis, an improved growth procedure for bismuthene is elaborated that increases the domain size of the material considerably (by a factor of ≈ 3:2 − 6:5 compared to prior work in Ref. [7]). The improved film quality is an important step towards any future device application of bismuthene, but also facilitates all further basic studies of this material. Moreover, the deposition of magnetic transition metals (Mn and Co) on bismuthene is investigated. Thereby, the formation of ordered magnetic Bi-Mn/Co alloys is realized, their structure is resolved with scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), and their pristine electronic properties are resolved with scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) and photoemission spectroscopy (PES). It is proposed that these ordered magnetic Bi-Mn/Co-alloys offer the potential to study the interplay between magnetism and topology in bismuthene in the future. In this thesis, a wide variety of spectroscopic techniques are employed that aim to build an understanding of the single-particle, as well as two-particle level of description of bismuthene’s electronic structure. The techniques involve STS and angle-resolved PES (ARPES) on the one hand, but also optical spectroscopy and time-resolved ARPES (trARPES), on the other hand. Moreover, these experiments are accompanied by advanced numerical modelling in form of GW and Bethe-Salpeter equation calculations provided by our theoretical colleagues. Notably, by merging many experimental and theoretical techniques, this work sets a benchmark for electronic structure investigations of 2D materials in general. Based on the STS studies, electronic quasi-particle interferences in quasi-1D line defects in bismuthene that are reminiscent of Fabry-P´erot states are discovered. It is shown that they point to a hybridization of two pairs of helical boundary modes across the line defect, which is accompanied by a (partial) lifting of their topological protection against elastic single-particle backscattering. Optical spectroscopy is used to reveal bismuthene’s two-particle elecronic structure. Despite its monolayer thickness, a strong optical (two-particle) response due to enhanced electron-hole Coulomb interactions is observed. The presented combined experimental and theoretical approach (including GW and Bethe-Salpeter equation calculations) allows to conclude that two prominent optical transitions can be associated with excitonic transitions derived from the Rashba-split valence bands of bismuthene. On a broader scope this discovery might promote further experiments to elucidate links of excitonic and topological physics. Finally, the excited conduction band states of bismuthene are mapped in energy and momentum space employing trARPES on bismuthene for the first time. The direct and indirect band gaps are succesfully extracted and the effect of excited charge carrier induced gap-renormalization is observed. In addition, an exceptionally fast excited charge carrier relaxation is identified which is explained by the presence of a quasi-metallic density of states from coupled topological boundary states of domain boundaries.