A General Theorem Relating the Bulk Topological Number to Edge States in Two-dimensional Insulators

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We prove a general theorem on the relation between the bulk topological quantum number and the edge states in two dimensional insulators. It is shown that whenever there is a topological order in bulk, characterized by a non-vanishing Chern number, even if it is defined for a non-conserved quantity such as spin in the case of the spin Hall effect, one can always infer the existence of gapless edge states under certain twisted boundary conditions that allow tunneling between edges. This relation is robust against disorder and interactions, and it provides a unified topological classification of both the quantum (charge) ... continued below

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11 pages

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Qi, Xiao-Liang; /Tsinghua U., Beijing /Stanford U., Phys. Dept.; Wu, Yong-Shi; U., /Utah; Zhang, Shou-Cheng & /Stanford U., Phys. Dept. /Tsinghua U., Beijing January 15, 2010.

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We prove a general theorem on the relation between the bulk topological quantum number and the edge states in two dimensional insulators. It is shown that whenever there is a topological order in bulk, characterized by a non-vanishing Chern number, even if it is defined for a non-conserved quantity such as spin in the case of the spin Hall effect, one can always infer the existence of gapless edge states under certain twisted boundary conditions that allow tunneling between edges. This relation is robust against disorder and interactions, and it provides a unified topological classification of both the quantum (charge) Hall effect and the quantum spin Hall effect. In addition, it reconciles the apparent conflict between the stability of bulk topological order and the instability of gapless edge states in systems with open boundaries (as known happening in the spin Hall case). The consequences of time reversal invariance for bulk topological order and edge state dynamics are further studied in the present framework.

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11 pages

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  • Journal Name: Submitted to Physical Review

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  • Report No.: SLAC-PUB-13913
  • Grant Number: AC02-76SF00515
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 970439
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc926853

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  • January 15, 2010

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 15, 2016, 3:27 p.m.

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Qi, Xiao-Liang; /Tsinghua U., Beijing /Stanford U., Phys. Dept.; Wu, Yong-Shi; U., /Utah; Zhang, Shou-Cheng & /Stanford U., Phys. Dept. /Tsinghua U., Beijing. A General Theorem Relating the Bulk Topological Number to Edge States in Two-dimensional Insulators, article, January 15, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc926853/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.