Recent Publications

Ultrafast momentum-resolved hot electron dynamics in the two-dimensional topological insulator bismuthene

Two-dimensional quantum spin Hall (QSH) insulators are a promising material class for spintronic applications based on topologically protected spin currents in their edges. Yet, they have not lived up to their technological potential, as experimental realizations are scarce and limited to cryogenic temperatures. These constraints have also severely restricted characterization of their dynamical properties. Here, we report on the electron dynamics of the novel room-temperature QSH candidate bismuthene after photoexcitation using time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. We map the transiently occupied conduction band and track the full relaxation pathway of hot photocarriers. Intriguingly, we observe photocarrier lifetimes much shorter than those in conventional semiconductors. [...]

Nano Letters 22, 5420 (2022)

Effective lifting of the topological protection of quantum spin Hall edge states by edge coupling

Key concepts for the use of 2D TIs in spintronics are based on the topological protection and spin-momentum locking of their helical edge states. In this study we present experimental evidence that topological protection can be (partially) lifted by pairwise coupling of 2D TI edges in close proximity. Using direct wave function mapping via scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS) we compare isolated and coupled topological edges in the 2D TI bismuthene. The latter situation is realized by natural lattice line defects and reveals distinct quasi-particle interference (QPI) patterns, identified as electronic Fabry-Pérot resonator modes. In contrast, free edges show no sign of any single-particle backscattering. [...]

 Nat. Commun. 13, 3480 (2022)

Partial gap in two-leg ladders with Rashba effect and its experimental signatures in Si(553)-Au

We study the effects of Rashba splitting on two-leg ladders with weakly screened Coulomb interactions. Past research has shown that in this class of systems the two backscattering channels with the largest amplitude favor ordering of canonically conjugated collective fields which effectively renders the system gapless. Here we show that the band-dependent Rashba spin-orbit interaction breaks this symmetry of scattering channels, leading to a new fixed point with yet unexplored instabilities. Exotic properties can be found, for instance, the mixing of the magnetism with the charge-density wave. We then investigate the physical consequences of this partial spectral gap opening. We find a striking difference in signatures of order observed in single-particle (spectral-function) and two-body (susceptibilities) experimental probes. [...]

Phys. Rev. B 104, 205407 (2021)

Research Groups

Nanophysics at surfaces

The research activities of our group are concerned with the physics of low-dimensional systems, where the electron states resulting from dimensional confinement lead to unusual conduction properties and to phase transitions as a function of temperature.

Oxide interfaces

Our group focusses on the electronic structure of correlated systems in transition metal oxides (TMOs). Special interest lies in the interplay of different degrees of freedom (charge, spin, orbital, lattice) in the light of metal-insulator and other phase transitions.

Neutron and resonant X-ray spectroscopy

In our group we investigate complex, functional materials such as transition metal oxides, which are used in the emerging field of correlated nanoelectronics. Unlike with conventional semiconductors, exotic superconducting, orbital and magnetic states can be realized at the interfaces in layered structures comprising such materials.