Project Title: Interaction of topological insulators with light

Supervisors: Dr Vincenzo Giannini, Dr Derek Lee and Prof Peter Haynes

Project description:

In less than ten years since their discovery topological insulators have become a focus of active research worldwide. The name of these materials stems from the fact that small modifications to their band structure leave some of their properties unchanged. The key among those is the presence of protected electron states on their surface. In contrast to the case of ordinary insulators, these states cannot be removed by defects and impurities [1].

The aim of this project is to investigate how the protected surface states affect the interaction of topological insulators with light. In addition to fundamental interest, this may provide new avenues for manipulation of light at THz frequencies where applications are still limited by the lack of suitable materials [2].

[1] M. Z. Hasan and C. L. Kane. Colloquium: Topological insulators. Rev. Mod. Phys., 82(4):3045-3067, November 2010.

[2] Shaghik Atakaramians, Shahraam Afshar V., Tanya M. Monro, and Derek Abbott. Terahertz
dielectric waveguides. Advances in Optics and Photonics, 5(2):169, June 2013.