Quantum corrections to the magnetoconductivity of surface states in three-dimensional topological insulators

Gang Shi, Fan Gao, Zhilin Li, Rencong Zhang, Igor Gornyi, Dmitri Gutman, Yongqing Li

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The interplay between quantum interference, electron-electron interaction (EEI), and disorder is one of the central themes of condensed matter physics. Such interplay can cause high-order magnetoconductance (MC) corrections in semiconductors with weak spin-orbit coupling (SOC). However, it remains unexplored how the magnetotransport properties are modified by the high-order quantum corrections in the electron systems of symplectic symmetry class, which include topological insulators (TIs), Weyl semimetals, graphene with negligible intervalley scattering, and semiconductors with strong SOC. Here, we extend the theory of quantum conductance corrections to two-dimensional (2D) electron systems with the symplectic symmetry, and study experimentally such physics with dual-gated TI devices in which the transport is dominated by highly tunable surface states. We find that the MC can be enhanced significantly by the second-order interference and the EEI effects, in contrast to the suppression of MC for the systems with orthogonal symmetry. Our work reveals that detailed MC analysis can provide deep insights into the complex electronic processes in TIs, such as the screening and dephasing effects of localized charge puddles, as well as the related particle-hole asymmetry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2596
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 5 May 2023

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