We discuss optical absorption in topological insulators and study possible photoelectric effects theoretically. We found that absorption of circularly polarized electromagnetic waves in two-dimensional topological insulators results in electric current in the conducting 1D edge channels, the direction of the current being determined by the light polarization. We suggest two ways of inducing such a current: due to magnetic dipole electron transitions stimulated by irradiation of frequency below the bulk energy gap, and due to electric dipole transitions in the bulk at frequencies larger than the energy gap with subsequent capture of the photogenerated carriers on conducting edge states.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)