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Axion term in topological insulators with broken time reversal and parity Reis, Itamar


The main subject of this work is the axion term in the effective electromagnetic action of topological insulators, which is responsible for the special electromagnetic properties of these materials. The axion term is characterized by a parameter θ, which can only take the values of 0, for regular insulators, or π, for topological insulators, respecting at least one of the time reversal or parity symmetries. A non zero axion term leads to a variety of measurable phenomena, generally referred to as the magneto-electric effects. We focus our interest on the value the parameter θ takes for a topological insulator, when both time reversal and parity are broken. In this case θ no longer must be quantized to 0 or π. We use a lattice model for a topological insulator, and introduce a symmetry breaking term in the Hamiltonian. We numerically find the value of θ in this case using calculations of the magnitude of various magneto-electric effects. The results are compared to the theoretical prediction. We find that θ is no longer quantized when a specific symmetry breaking term is introduced.

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