Nanoscale Probing of Local Electrical Characteristics on MBE-Grown Bi2Te3 Surfaces under Ambient Conditions

Rita J. Macedo, Sara E. Harrison, Tatiana S. Dorofeeva, James S. Harris, Richard A. Kiehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The local electrical characteristics on the surface of MBE-grown Bi2Te3 are probed under ambient conditions by conductive atomic force microscopy. Nanoscale mapping reveals a 10-100× enhancement in current at step-edges compared to that on terraces. Analysis of the local current-voltage characteristics indicates that the transport mechanism is similar for step-edges and terraces. Comparison of the results with those for control samples shows that the current enhancement is not a measurement artifact but instead is due to local differences in electronic properties. The likelihood of various possible mechanisms is discussed. The absence of enhancement at the step-edges for graphite terraces is consistent with the intriguing possibility that spin-orbit coupling and topological effects play a significant role in the step-edge current enhancement in Bi2Te3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4241-4247
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 8 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bismuth telluride
  • atomic force microscopy
  • molecular beam epitaxy
  • topological insulators
  • van der Waals epitaxy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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