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Journal of Nanophotonics • Open Access

Classical electromagnetic model of surface states in topological insulators

Paper Abstract

A topological insulator is classically modeled as an isotropic material with a magnetoelectric pseudoscalar Ψ existing in its bulk while its surface is charge free and current free. An alternative model is obtained by setting Ψ≡0 and incorporating surface charge and current densities characterized by an admittance γ. Analysis of planewave reflection and refraction due to a topological-insulator half space reveals that the parameters Ψ and γ arise identically in the reflection and transmission coefficients, implying that the two classical models cannot be distinguished on the basis of any scattering scenario. However, as Ψ disappears from the Maxwell equations applicable to any region occupied by the topological insulator, and because surface states exist on topological insulators as protected conducting states, the alternative model must be chosen.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 February 2016
PDF: 5 pages
J. Nanophoton. 10(3) 033004 doi: 10.1117/1.JNP.10.033004
Published in: Journal of Nanophotonics Volume 10, Issue 3
Show Author Affiliations
Akhlesh Lakhtakia, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Tom G. Mackay, Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
The Univ. of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)


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