Molecular Approach for Engineering Interfacial Interactions in Magnetic/Topological Insulator Heterostructures

Controlling interfacial interactions in magnetic/topological insulator heterostructures is a major challenge for the emergence of novel spin-dependent electronic phenomena. As for any rational design of heterostructures that rely on proximity effects, one should ideally retain the overall properties of each component while tuning interactions at the interface. However, in most inorganic interfaces, interactions are too strong, consequently perturbing, and even quenching, both the magnetic moment and the topological surface states at each side of the interface. Here, we show that these properties can be preserved using ligand chemistry to tune the interaction of magnetic ions with the surface states. By depositing Co-based porphyrin and phthalocyanine monolayers on the surface of Bi2Te3 thin films, robust interfaces are formed that preserve undoped topological surface states as well as the pristine magnetic moment of the divalent Co ions. The selected ligands allow us to tune the interfacial hybridization within this weak interaction regime. These results, which are in stark contrast with the observed suppression of the surface state at the first quintuple layer of Bi2Se3 induced by the interaction with Co phthalocyanines, demonstrate the capability of planar metal–organic molecules to span interactions from the strong to the weak limit.

ACS Nano 2020, 14, 5, 6285–6294

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