Wednesday, July 24, 2013

1307.5974 (P. Di Pietro et al.)

Observation of Dirac plasmons in a topological insulator    [PDF]

P. Di Pietro, M. Ortolani, O. Limaj, A. Di Gaspare, V. Giliberti, F. Giorgianni, M. Brahlek, N. Bansal, N. Koirala, S. Oh, P. Calvani, S. Lupi
Plasmons are the quantized collective oscillations of electrons in metals and doped semiconductors. The plasmons of ordinary, massive electrons are since a long time basic ingredients of research in plasmonics and in optical metamaterials. Plasmons of massless Dirac electrons were instead recently observed in a purely two-dimensional electron system (2DEG)like graphene, and their properties are promising for new tunable plasmonic metamaterials in the terahertz and the mid-infrared frequency range. Dirac quasi-particles are known to exist also in the two-dimensional electron gas which forms at the surface of topological insulators due to a strong spin-orbit interaction. Therefore,one may look for their collective excitations by using infrared spectroscopy. Here we first report evidence of plasmonic excitations in a topological insulator (Bi2Se3), that was engineered in thin micro-ribbon arrays of different width W and period 2W to select suitable values of the plasmon wavevector k. Their lineshape was found to be extremely robust vs. temperature between 6 and 300 K, as one may expect for the excitations of topological carriers. Moreover, by changing W and measuring in the terahertz range the plasmonic frequency vP vs. k we could show, without using any fitting parameter, that the dispersion curve is in quantitative agreement with that predicted for Dirac plasmons.
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