Thursday, March 15, 2018
Electron–hole pairing can occur in a dilute semimetal, transforming the system into an excitonic insulator state in which a gap spontaneously appears at the Fermi surface, analogous to a Bardeen–Cooper–Schrieffer (BCS) superconductor. In this talk I will report optical spectroscopic and electronic transport evidence for the formation of an excitonic insulator gap in an inverted InAs/GaSb quantum-well system at low temperatures and low electron–hole densities. Terahertz transmission spectra exhibit two absorption lines that are quantitatively consistent with predictions from the pair-breaking excitation dispersion calculated based on the BCS gap equation. Low-temperature electronic transport measurements reveal a gap of ~2 meV (or ~25 K) with a critical temperature of ~10 K in the bulk, together with quantized edge conductance, suggesting the occurrence of a topological excitonic insulator phase.