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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 May 24;110(21):216401. Epub 2013 May 21.

Layer-by-layer entangled spin-orbital texture of the topological surface state in Bi2Se3.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1, Canada.


We study Bi(2)Se(3) by polarization-dependent angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy and density-functional theory slab calculations. We find that the surface state Dirac fermions are characterized by a layer-dependent entangled spin-orbital texture, which becomes apparent through quantum interference effects. This explains the discrepancy between the spin polarization obtained in spin and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy-ranging from 20% to 85%-and the 100% value assumed in phenomenological models. It also suggests a way to probe the intrinsic spin texture of topological insulators, and to continuously manipulate the spin polarization of photoelectrons and photocurrents all the way from 0 to ±100% by an appropriate choice of photon energy, linear polarization, and angle of incidence.

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