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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Andrew M. Weiner
  • Vol. 21, Iss. 18 — Sep. 9, 2013
  • pp: 21317–21328

Electromagnetic waves in a topological insulator thin film stack: helicon-like wave mode and photonic band structure

Jun-ichi Inoue  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 21, Issue 18, pp. 21317-21328 (2013)

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We theoretically explore the electromagnetic modes specific to a topological insulator superlattice in which topological and conventional insulator thin films are stacked periodically. In particular, we obtain analytic formulas for low energy mode that corresponds to a helicon wave, as well as those for photonic bands. We illustrate that the system can be modeled as a stack of quantum Hall layers whose conductivity tensors alternately change signs, and then we analyze the photonic band structures. This subject is a natural extension of a previous study by Tselis et al., which took into consideration a stack of identical quantum Hall layers but their discussion was limited into a low energy mode. Thus we provide analytic formulas for photonic bands and compare their features between the two systems. Our central findings in the topological insulator superlattice are that a low energy mode corresponding to a helicon wave has linear dispersion instead of the conventional quadratic form, and that a robust gapless photonic band appears although the system considered has spacial periodicity. In addition, we demonstrate that the photonic bands agree with the numerically calculated transmission spectra.

© 2013 OSA

OCIS Codes
(310.6860) Thin films : Thin films, optical properties
(160.5293) Materials : Photonic bandgap materials
(310.6805) Thin films : Theory and design

ToC Category:
Thin Films

Original Manuscript: July 10, 2013
Revised Manuscript: August 26, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: August 26, 2013
Published: September 4, 2013

Jun-ichi Inoue, "Electromagnetic waves in a topological insulator thin film stack: helicon-like wave mode and photonic band structure," Opt. Express 21, 21317-21328 (2013)

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