We design three-dimensional models of topological insulator thin films, showing a tunability of the odd number of Dirac cones driven by the atomic-scale geometry at the boundaries. A single Dirac cone at the Γ-point can be obtained as well as full suppression of quantum tunneling between Dirac states at geometrically differentiated surfaces. The spin texture of surface states changes from a spin-momentum-locking symmetry to a surface spin randomization upon the introduction of bulk disorder. These findings illustrate the richness of the Dirac physics emerging in thin films of topological insulators and may prove utile for engineering Dirac cones and for quantifying bulk disorder in materials with ultraclean surfaces. © 2012 American Physical Society.
|Journal||Physical Review Letters|
|Publication status||Published - 26 Dec 2012|