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Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 22;8(1):659. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00745-8.

Observation of topological states residing at step edges of WTe2.

Author information

1
School of Physics and Wuhan National High Magnetic Field Center, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430074, China.
2
School of Physical Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai, 200031, China. ligang@shanghaitech.edu.cn.
3
Institute of Solid State Physics, Vienna University of Technology, A-1040, Vienna, Austria. ligang@shanghaitech.edu.cn.
4
Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100084, China.
5
School of Physics and Wuhan National High Magnetic Field Center, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430074, China. yfu@hust.edu.cn.

Abstract

Topological states emerge at the boundary of solids as a consequence of the nontrivial topology of the bulk. Recently, theory predicts a topological edge state on single layer transition metal dichalcogenides with 1T' structure. However, its existence still lacks experimental proof. Here, we report the direct observations of the topological states at the step edge of WTe2 by spectroscopic-imaging scanning tunneling microscopy. A one-dimensional electronic state residing at the step edge of WTe2 is observed, which exhibits remarkable robustness against edge imperfections. First principles calculations rigorously verify the edge state has a topological origin, and its topological nature is unaffected by the presence of the substrate. Our study supports the existence of topological edge states in 1T'-WTe2, which may envision in-depth study of its topological physics and device applications.Two-dimensional topological insulators support edge conduction electrons but its realization in real materials is rare. Here, Peng et al. report the direct observation of topological states at the step edge of WTe2.

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