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What do topological insulators have to do with hall currents?

  1. Dec 10, 2011 #1
    Hello,

    So a topological insulator can induce a magnetic field when an electric charge is near to it (I can give a reference if necessary), but the thing is, the paper interprets the origin of this magnetic field as being the hall currents on the surface of the topological insulator.

    Now I don't see the connection between hall currents and topological insulators? Is it obvious that there should be a thing as a hall current on the surface? Or is it only understandable through teneous quantum mechanical calculations relying on spin-orbit coupling?

    Note that I know a little about what quantum hall effect and quantum spin hall effect have to do with topological insulators (the latter being a topological insulator), but in each of these cases, it didn't come across to me that the hall current was playing a role in the story. So maybe I'm overlooking something at that basic level. The easiest "solution" would be "the edge current on the boundar of a quantum hall effect state and e.g. vacuum is a hall current", but I don't think that is true.
     
  2. jcsd
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