Density functional study of ternary topological insulator thin films

Jiwon Chang, Leonard F. Register, Sanjay K. Banerjee, Bhagawan Sahu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Using an ab initio density functional theory based electronic structure method with a semilocal density approximation, we study thin-film electronic properties of two topological insulators based on ternary compounds of Tl (thallium) and Bi (bismuth). We consider TlBiX2 (X= Se, Te) and Bi2X2Y (X,Y= Se,Te) compounds which provide better Dirac cones, compared to the model binary compounds Bi2X3(X= Se, Te). With this property in combination with a structurally perfect bulk crystal, the latter ternary compound has been found to have improved surface electronic transport in recent experiments. In this article, we discuss the nature of surface states, their locations in the Brillouin zone and their interactions within the bulk region. Our calculations suggest a critical thin film thickness to maintain the Dirac cone which is significantly smaller than that in binary Bi-based compounds. Atomic relaxations or rearrangements are found to affect the Dirac cone in some of these compounds. And with the help of layer-projected surface charge densities, we discuss the penetration depth of the surface states into the bulk region. The electronic spectrum of these ternary compounds agrees very well with the available experimental results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number235108
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun 6

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Density functional study of ternary topological insulator thin films'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this