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Exchange coupling in Bi2Se3/EuSe heterostructures and evidence of interfacial antiferromagnetic order formation

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Physical Review B
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Spatial confinement of electronic topological surface states (TSSs) in topological insulators poses a formidable challenge because TSSs are protected by time-reversal symmetry. In previous works formation of a gap in the electronic spectrum of TSSs has been successfully demonstrated in topological insulator/magnetic material heterostructures, where ferromagnetic exchange interactions locally lift the time-reversal symmetry. Here we report experimental evidence of exchange interaction between a topological insulator Bi2Se3 and a magnetic insulator EuSe. Spin-polarized neutron reflectometry reveals a reduction of the in-plane magnetic susceptibility within a 2 nm interfacial layer of EuSe, and the combination of superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometry and Hall measurements points to the formation of an interfacial layer with a suppressed net magnetic moment. This suppressed magnetization survives up to temperatures five times higher than the NĂ©el temperature of EuSe. Its origin is attributed to the formation of an interfacial antiferromagnetic state. Abrupt resistance changes observed in high magnetic fields are consistent with antiferromagnetic domain reconstruction affecting transport in a TSS via exchange coupling. The high-temperature local control of TSSs with zero net magnetization unlocks new opportunities for the design of electronic, spintronic, and quantum computation devices, ranging from quantization of Hall conductance in zero fields to spatial localization of non-Abelian excitations in superconducting topological qubits.