Effects of defects and dephasing on charge and spin currents in two-dimensional topological insulators

John S. Van Dyke, Dirk K. Morr
2017 Physical review B  
Using the non-equilibrium Keldysh Green's function formalism, we investigate the effect of defects on the electronic structure and transport properties of two-dimensional topological insulators (TI). We demonstrate how the spatial flow of charge changes between the topologically protected edge and bulk states and show that elastically and inelastically scattering defects that preserve the time reversal symmetry of the TI lead to qualitatively different effects on the TI's local electronic
more » ... al electronic structure and its transport properties. Moreover, we show that the recently predicted ability to create highly spin-polarized currents by breaking the time-reversal symmetry of the TI via magnetic defects [Phys. Rev. B 93, 081401 (2016)] is robust against the inclusion of a Rashba spin-orbit interaction and the effects of dephasing, and remains unaffected by changes over a wide range of the TI's parameters. We discuss how the sign of the induced spin currents changes under symmetry operations, such as reversal of bias and gate voltages, or spatial reflections. Finally, we show that the insight into the interplay between topology and symmetry of the magnetic defects can be employed for the creation of novel quantum phenomena, such as highly localized magnetic fields inside the TI.
doi:10.1103/physrevb.95.045151 fatcat:ipzk77bmybarlem7sd3yfezlvi