Fabrication and characterization of topological insulator Bi2Se3 nanocrystals

In the recently discovered class of materials known as topological insulators, the presence of strong spin-orbit coupling causes certain topological invariants in the bulk to differ from their values in vacuum. The sudden change in invariants at the interface results in metallic, time reversal invariant surface states whose properties are useful for applications in spintronics and quantum computation. However, a key challenge is to fabricate these materials on the nanoscale appropriate for devices and probing the surface. To this end we have produced 2 nm thick nanocrystals of the topological insulator Bi2Se3 via mechanical exfoliation. For crystals thinner than 10 nm we observe the emergence of an additional mode in the Raman spectrum. The emergent mode intensity together with the other results presented here provide a recipe for production and thickness characterization of Bi2Se3 nanocrystals.

S. Y. F. Zhao, C. Beekman, L. J. Sandilands, J. E. J. Bashucky, D. Kwok, N. Lee,
A. D. LaForge, S. W. Cheong, and K. S. Burch.
Applied Physics Letters 98, 141911 (2011)