A topological insulator has a unique graphene-like Dirac cone conducting surface state, which is excellent for broadband absorption and photodetector applications. Experimental investigations on the Bi2Te3/n-GaN heterojunction exhibited an aberrant photoelectric effect under the influence of unpolarized light. Transport measurements of the Bi2Te3/n-GaN heterojunction revealed a negative photoconductance, with a sudden increase in resistance. This was consistent with the applied range of wavelength and power used for incident light while it was contrary to the usual gap-state transition model, which states that a negative conductance is due to the trapping of charge carriers. The observed aberrant photoelectric effect seen in Bi2Te3/n-GaN heterojunction devices was due to the polycrystalline nature of the Bi2Te3 topological insulator film, where the incident photon-induced bandgap in the Dirac cone surface state resulted in a negative photoelectric effect. This phenomenon opens the possibility for applications in highly sensitive photodetectors and non-volatile memories, along with employing the bandgap-opening concept in retinomorphic devices.
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