My defense focuses on the synthesis, characterization, fabrication, and electrical transport measurements of topological materials, including magnetically doped topological insulators and Dirac semimetal Cd3As2. Bismuth-chalcogenide topological insulators have time-reversal-symmetry-protected surface states due to the strong spin-orbit coupling. Breaking the time-reversal symmetry by magnetic dopants can lead to fascinating exotic phenomena, such as the quantum anomalous Hall effect. On the other hand, Dirac semimetals host three-dimensional Dirac fermions and can be identified as a parent phase of other topological phases, such as Weyl semimetals. In this dissertation, quantum transport measurements are performed on thin films of topological materials to investigate and understand the unusual electronic states that host these topological phases. These studies can motivate and facilitate the development of potential applications of topological materials, especially in spintronics and quantum computing.
The first topological material studied in this dissertation is a magnetically doped topological insulator system: Cr doped (Bi,Sb)2Te3 - (Bi,Sb)2Te3 - Cr doped (Bi,Sb)2Te3 sandwich heterostructure. By tuning the chemical and asymmetric potentials using dual gates, both the quantum anomalous hall effect, due to the topology in the momentum, and the topological Hall effect, due to the topology in real space, can be observed in this heterostructure system. We also mapped out a phase diagram of the topological Hall and quantum anomalous Hall effects as a function of the chemical and asymmetry potentials, paving a way to understand and manipulate the chiral magnetic spin textures in real space.
The second topological material is Dirac semimetal Cd3As2. We investigate the integer quantum Hall effect in Cd3As2 thin films under conditions of strong to moderate quantum confinement (thicknesses of 10 nm, 12 nm, and 15 nm). In all the films, we observe the integer quantum Hall effect in the spin-polarized lowest Landau level (filling factor ν=1) and at spin-degenerate higher index Landau levels with even filling factors (ν=2,4,6). We also observed lifting the Landau level spin degeneracy at v=3 with strong quantum confinement. A tight-binding calculation suggests that the enhanced g-factor due to the quantum confinement and corrections from nearby subbands can be the reason for the emergence of the v=3 quantum Hall plateau.
Last, we explored the introduction of the transition metal Mn into Cd3As2 thin films to break the time-reversal symmetry. Scanning transmission electron microscopy of these films shows a formation of an Mn-rich layer on top of a pure Cd3As2 layer using both uniform and delta doping methods. The low solubility of Mn in Cd3As2 can be the reason for the phase separation. The Mn-rich region shows out-of-plane magnetic anisotropy in superconducting quantum interference device magnetometry measurements. Moreover, the presence of the Mn surfactant lowers the carrier density in the Cd3As2 layer, and an incipient quantum Hall effect can be observed in low-temperature transport measurements.