Journal article

Crystallinity of tellurium capping and epitaxy of ferromagnetic topological insulator films on SrTiO3

Thin films of topological insulators are often capped with an insulating layer since topological insulators are known to be fragile to degradation. However, capping can hinder the observation of novel transport properties of the surface states. To understand the influence of capping on the surface states, it is crucial to understand the crystal structure and the atomic arrangement at the interfaces. Here, we use x-ray diffraction to establish the crystal structure of magnetic topological insulator Cr-doped (Bi, Sb)(2)Te-3 (CBST) films grown on SrTiO3 (1 1 1) substrates with and without a Te capping layer. We find that both the film and capping layer are single crystal and that the crystal quality of the film is independent of the presence of the capping layer, but that x-rays cause sublimation of the CBST film, which is prevented by the capping layer. Our findings show that the different transport properties of capped films cannot be attributed to a lower crystal quality but to a more subtle effect such as a different electronic structure at the interface with the capping layer. Our results on the crystal structure and atomic arrangements of the topological heterostructure will enable modelling the electronic structure and design of topological heterostructures.


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