Whereas thin films of topological insulators grown by molecular beam epitaxy often display regular, triangular features, Bi2Se3 films grown onto yttrium iron garnet (YIG) display much greater disorder. Here, we present observations of various types of disorder present in these films using atomic force microscopy and scanning transmission electron microscopy. The investigation reveals the presence of an amorphous metal oxide layer between the substrate and the film, which appears to smooth out the nanometer-scale undulations in the YIG surface. It also shows the existence of quasiordered arrays of heavy atoms in some interfacial regions, as well as rotations and tilting between adjacent grains and basal twinning at various heights in the film. Using density functional theory, we explore the impact of these prominent basal twins on the electronic structure of the film.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)