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Title:Quantum transport theory of 3D time-reversal invariant topological insulators
Author(s):Dellabetta, Brian
Director of Research:Gilbert, Matthew J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Gilbert, Matthew J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Fradkin, Eduardo H.; Lyding, Joseph W.; Ravaioli, Umberto
Department / Program:Electrical & Computer Eng
Discipline:Electrical & Computer Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Topological Insulators
Quantum Transport
Non-Equilibrium Green's Function
Abstract:We consider the potential technological role of a recently predicted and discovered phase of quantum matter - topological insulators (TIs), which are characterized by an insulating bulk and topologically protected, gapless, spin-momentum locked surface modes. Precise engineering of these gapless modes may yield new potential materials for novel electronic devices, but many materials issues and open questions in application remain in the nascent field. The quasiparticle dynamics of TI systems can be elegantly written in terms of a low-energy effective momentum-space Hamiltonian, but analytic methods quickly become intractable in multifarious systems and disordered heterostructures which in general lack translational invariance, as momentum is no longer a good quantum number. Computational methods possess a clear advantage in this regime, for understanding systems in which geometry, contact layout, and disorder play a dominant role. We employ computationally intensive methods to calculate observable, non-equilibrium transport dynamics of real-space topological systems, to propose and identify experimental signatures of topological behavior, and to connect interesting experimental observations to the underlying topological properties in normal, disordered, and superconducting systems. The customizability of these computational methods allows us to determine the salient underlying physics involved in a number of different scenarios, including surface transport corrugated TI channels, the Aharonov-Bohm effect in TI nanowires, supercurrent in TI Josephson junctions, and the superconducting proximity effect and resulting transport in TI-superconductor heterostructures. In doing so, we expand the understanding of quantum and mesoscopic transport in heterostructured TI systems as a first step in exploring their long-term place in novel device applications.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/50712
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Brian Jon Dellabetta
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08


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