Realizing topological insulators is of great current interest because of their remarkable properties and possible future applications. There are recent proposals based on Floquet analyses that one can generate topologically non-trivial insulators by periodically driving topologically trivial ones. Here we address what happens if one follows the dynamics in such systems. Specifically, we present an exact study of the time evolution of a graphene-like system subjected to a circularly polarized electric field. We prove that for infinite (translationally invariant) systems the Chern number is conserved under unitary evolution. For systems with boundaries, on the other hand, we show that a properly defined topological invariant, the Bott index, can change. Hence, it should be possible to experimentally prepare topological states starting from non-topological ones. We show that the chirality of the edge current in such systems can be controlled by adjusting the filling.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)