Atom-specific spin mapping and buried topological states in a homologous series of topological insulators
A topological insulator is a state of quantum matter that, while being an insulator in the bulk, hosts topologically protected electronic states at the surface. These states open the opportunity to realize a number of new applications in spintronics and quantum computing. To take advantage of their peculiar properties, topological insulators should be tuned in such a way that ideal and isolated Dirac cones are located within the topological transport regime without any scattering channels. Here we report ab-initio calculations, spin-resolved photoemission and scanning tunnelling microscopy experiments that demonstrate that the conducting states can effectively tuned within the concept of a homologous series that is formed by the binary chalcogenides (Bi2Te3, Bi2Se3 and Sb2Te3), with the addition of a third element of the group IV.