Nonideal topological insulator (TI) films in which the bulk states are not insulating due to unintentional doping exhibit strong surface-bulk coupling. Such surface-bulk coupling can further induce intersurface coupling that affects the electrical conductivity of the TI films through a quantum interference effect known as weak antilocalization. Increased understanding and control of intersurface coupling is therefore crucial for the use of TI-based quantum devices. In this report on the transport properties of doped Bi2Se3 films under perpendicular and parallel magnetic fields, we observe a crossover between coupled and decoupled surface channels that is mediated by intentional disorder controlled by a post-annealing process. The intentional disorder causes the surface state carriers to rapidly lose their quantum phase and coherence, and as a result, more disordered Bi2Se3 films exhibit a shorter penetration depth of the surface state into the bulk states and weaker intersurface coupling, even though stronger surface-bulk coupling is expected. In previous studies, the role of disorder has generally been considered by determining its effect on surface-bulk scattering, but our results indicate that the role of disorder must be considered as a source of decoherence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics