Topological Quantization in Units of the Fine Structure Constant

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Fundamental topological phenomena in condensed matter physics are associated with a quantized electromagnetic response in units of fundamental constants. Recently, it has been predicted theoretically that the time-reversal invariant topological insulator in three dimensions exhibits a topological magnetoelectric effect quantized in units of the fine structure constant {alpha} = e{sup 2}/{h_bar}c. In this Letter, we propose an optical experiment to directly measure this topological quantization phenomenon, independent of material details. Our proposal also provides a way to measure the half-quantized Hall conductances on the two surfaces of the topological insulator independently of each other.

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5 pages

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Maciejko, Joseph; /Stanford U., Phys. Dept. /Stanford U., Materials Sci. Dept. /SLAC; Qi, Xiao-Liang; /Station Q, UCSB /Stanford U., Phys. Dept. /Stanford U., Materials Sci. Dept. /SLAC; Drew, H.Dennis; U., /Maryland et al. November 11, 2011.

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Fundamental topological phenomena in condensed matter physics are associated with a quantized electromagnetic response in units of fundamental constants. Recently, it has been predicted theoretically that the time-reversal invariant topological insulator in three dimensions exhibits a topological magnetoelectric effect quantized in units of the fine structure constant {alpha} = e{sup 2}/{h_bar}c. In this Letter, we propose an optical experiment to directly measure this topological quantization phenomenon, independent of material details. Our proposal also provides a way to measure the half-quantized Hall conductances on the two surfaces of the topological insulator independently of each other.

Physical Description

5 pages

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  • Journal Name: Phys.Rev.Lett.105:166803,2010; Journal Volume: 105; Journal Issue: 16

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  • Report No.: SLAC-PUB-14725
  • Grant Number: AC02-76SF00515
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1029144
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc830789

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  • November 11, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 2, 2016, 3:48 p.m.

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Maciejko, Joseph; /Stanford U., Phys. Dept. /Stanford U., Materials Sci. Dept. /SLAC; Qi, Xiao-Liang; /Station Q, UCSB /Stanford U., Phys. Dept. /Stanford U., Materials Sci. Dept. /SLAC; Drew, H.Dennis; U., /Maryland et al. Topological Quantization in Units of the Fine Structure Constant, article, November 11, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc830789/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.