Weakly-coupled quasi-1D helical modes in disordered 3D topological insulator quantum wires

Abstract : Disorder remains a key limitation in the search for robust signatures of topological superconductivity in condensed matter. Whereas clean semiconducting quantum wires gave promising results discussed in terms of Majorana bound states, disorder makes the interpretation more complex. Quantum wires of 3D topological insulators offer a serious alternative due to their perfectly-transmitted mode. An important aspect to consider is the mixing of quasi-1D surface modes due to the strong degree of disorder typical for such materials. Here, we reveal that the energy broadening $\gamma$ of such modes is much smaller than their energy spacing $\Delta$, an unusual result for highly-disordered mesoscopic nanostructures. This is evidenced by non-universal conductance fluctuations in highly-doped and disordered Bi2Se3 and Bi$_2$Te$_3$ nanowires. Theory shows that such a unique behavior is specific to spin-helical Dirac fermions with strong quantum confinement, which retain ballistic properties over an unusually large energy scale due to their spin texture. Our result confirms their potential to investigate topological superconductivity without ambiguity despite strong disorder.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 29, 2019 - 11:11:31 AM
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J. Dufouleur, L. Veyrat, E. Xypakis, J. Bardarson, B. Dassonneville, et al.. Weakly-coupled quasi-1D helical modes in disordered 3D topological insulator quantum wires. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7, pp.45276. ⟨10.1038/srep45276⟩. ⟨hal-01585612⟩

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