Disorder effects on helical edge transport in graphene under a strong tilted magnetic field

Chunli Huang, Miguel A. Cazalilla

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4 Scopus citations


In a recent experiment, Young et al. [Nature (London) 505, 528 (2014)NATUAS0028-083610.1038/nature12800] observed a metal to insulator transition as well as transport through helical edge states in monolayer graphene under a strong, tilted magnetic field. Under such conditions, the bulk is a magnetic insulator which can exhibit metallic conduction through helical edges. It was found that the two-terminal conductance of the helical channels deviates from the expected quantized value (=e2/h per edge, at zero temperature). Motivated by this observation, we study the effect of disorder on the conduction through the edge channels. We show that, unlike for helical edges of topological insulators in semiconducting quantum wells, a disorder Rashba spin-orbit coupling does not lead to backscattering, at least to leading order. Instead, we find that the lack of perfect antialignment of the electron spins in the helical channels to be the most likely cause for backscattering arising from scalar (i.e., spin-independent) impurities. The intrinsic spin-orbit coupling and other time-reversal symmetry-breaking and/or sublattice parity-breaking potentials also lead to (subleading) corrections to the channel conductance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155124
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number15
StatePublished - Oct 14 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Physical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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