Article: published in Physical Review Letters by J. J. Palacios, IFIMAC researcher and member of the Condensed Matter Physics Department.
Identifying the two-dimensional (2D) topological insulating (TI) state in new materials and its control are crucial aspects towards the development of voltage-controlled spintronic devices with low-power dissipation. Members of the 2D transition metal dichalcogenides have been recently predicted and experimentally reported as a new class of 2D TI materials, but in most cases edge conduction seems fragile and limited to the monolayer phase fabricated on specified substrates. Here, we realize the controlled patterning of the 1T′ phase embedded into the 2H phase of thin semiconducting molybdenum-disulfide by laser beam irradiation. Integer fractions of the quantum of resistance, the dependence on laser-irradiation conditions, magnetic field, and temperature, as well as the bulk gap observation by scanning tunneling spectroscopy and theoretical calculations indicate the presence of the quantum spin Hall phase in our patterned 1T′ phases. [Full article]