Atomic-Scale Magnetism of Cr-Doped Bi2Se3 Thin Film Topological Insulators

Wenqing Liu, Damien West, Liang He, Yongbing Xu, Jun Liu, Kejie Wang, Yong Wang, Gerrit Van der laan, Rong Zhang, Shengbai Zhang, Kang Wang

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Magnetic doping is the most common method for breaking time-reversal-symmetry surface states of topological insulators (TIs) to realize novel physical phenomena and to create beneficial technological applications. Here we present a study of the magnetic coupling of a prototype magnetic TI, that is, Cr-doped Bi2Se3, in its ultrathin limit which is expected to give rise to quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) effect. The high quality Bi2–xCrxSe3 epitaxial thin film was prepared using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), characterized with scanning transimission electron microscopy (STEM), electrical magnetotransport, and X-ray magnetic circularly dichroism (XMCD) techniques, and the results were simulated using density functional theory (DFT) with spin–orbit coupling (SOC). We observed a sizable spin moment mspin = (2.05 ± 0.20) μB/Cr and a small and negative orbital moment morb = (−0.05 ± 0.02) μB/Cr of the Bi1.94Cr0.06Se3 thin film at 2.5 K. A remarkable fraction of the (CrBi–CrI)3+ antiferromagnetic dimer in the Bi2–xCrxSe3 for 0.02 < x < 0.40 was obtained using first-principles simulations, which was neglected in previous studies. The spontaneous coexistence of ferro- and antiferromagnetic Cr defects in Bi2–xCrxSe3 explains our experimental observations and those based on conventional magnetometry which universally report magnetic moments significantly lower than 3 μB/Cr predicted by Hund’s rule.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10237–10243
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2015

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