In a topological insulator (TI) the bulk electronic band structure behaves like an ordinary band insulator. However, at the surface topologically protected surface states occur, which give rise to a spin-locked, dissipation-less electronic transport. Hence, topological insulator materials, such as Sb2Te3 or Bi2Te3, are of great interest for spintronic devices or quantum computing. In order to achieve the dissipation-less transport, the Fermi level has to be exactly tuned within the Dirac cone like band structure at the surface. To date intrinsic doping by vacancies or antisite defects renders Sb2Te3 and Bi2Te3 p- and n-type, respectively, which results in hole or electron transport in the bulk. Recently we solved this problem by growing p-n junctions made of Sb2Te3 and Bi2Te3 . In this approach the carrier concentration at the surface is reduced by formation of the space charge layer at the buried heterointerface.
Structure-wise the X2Te3 (X=Bi, Sb) rhombohedral unit cell consists of three Te-X-Te-X-Te quintuple layers, which are linked by van der Waals forces. In order to achieve layers of high structural perfection on Si(111) substrates careful control of the growth parameters of the molecular beam epitaxy is required. In particular, we could demonstrate that the suppression of twin domains, which are the most prominent structural defects, is possible by van der Waals epitaxy .
Here we report on advanced scanning transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray studies on MBE grown Sb2Te3/Bi2Te3 heterostructures. Figure 1 displays STEM bright-field and dark-field images, where the quintuple layers within the heterostructures and a highly perfect interface to the Si substrate are atomically resolved. The EDX measurement in Figure 2 reveals, that at the heterointerface a Sb and Bi gradient extends over about 4 nm, effectively introducing a ternary compound as interlayer. Corresponding electrical transport measurements demonstrate the tunability of the intrinsic carrier concentration by variation of the thickness of the individual films .
 Eschbach M, Młyńczak E, Kellner J, Kampmeier, J, Lanius, M, Neumann, E., Weyrich C, Gehlmann M, Gospodaric P, Döring S, Demarina N, Luysberg M, Biehlmayer G, Schäpers, T, Plucinski L, Blügel S, Morgenstern M, Schneider C M, Grützmacher D. Nature Communications. 2015;6(May):8816. doi:10.1038/ncomms9816.
 Kampmeier J, Borisova S, Plucinski L, Luysberg M, Mussler G, Grützmacher D. Crystal Growth and Design. 2015;15(1):390-394. doi:10.1021/cg501471z.
 Lanius, M, Mussler, G., Kampmeier, J, Weyrich, C., Schall, M. Kölling, S., Schüffelgen, P., Neumann, E., Luysberg, M., Koenraad, P. Schaepers, T., Grützmacher, D. accepted for publication in Crystal Growth and Design. doi: 10.1021/acs.cgd.5b01717
To cite this abstract:Martina Luysberg, Martin Lanius, Jörn Kampmeier, Christian Weyrich, Sebastian Kölling, Melissa Schall, Peter Schüffelgen, Elmar Neumann, Gregor Mussler, Paul M. Koenrad, Thomas Schäpers, Detlev Grützmacher; Topological insulator Sb2Te3/Bi2Te3 heterostructures: structural properties. The 16th European Microscopy Congress, Lyon, France. https://emc-proceedings.com/abstract/topological-insulator-sb2te3bi2te3-heterostructures-structural-properties/. Accessed: December 4, 2023
EMC Abstracts - https://emc-proceedings.com/abstract/topological-insulator-sb2te3bi2te3-heterostructures-structural-properties/