We investigate the light-matter interaction between the edge state of a 2D topological insulator and quantum electromagnetic field. The interaction originates from the Zeeman term between the spin of the edge electrons and the magnetic field, and also through the Peierls substitution. The continuous U(1) symmetry of the system in the absence of the vector potential reduces into discrete time reversal symmetry in the presence of the vector potential. Due to light-matter interaction, a superradiant ground state emerges with spontaneously broken time reversal symmetry, accompanied by a net photocurrent along the edge, generated by the vector potential of the quantum light. The spectral function of the photon field reveals polariton continuum excitations above a threshold energy, corresponding to a Higgs mode and another low energy collective mode due to the phase fluctuations of the ground state. This collective mode is a zero energy Goldstone mode that arises from the broken continuous U(1) symmetry in the absence of the vector potential and acquires finite a gap in the presence of the vector potential. The optical conductivity of the edge electrons is calculated using the random phase approximation by taking the fluctuation of the order parameter into account. It contains the collective modes as a Drude peak with renormalized effective mass, which moves to finite frequencies as the symmetry of the system is lowered by the inclusion of the vector potential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics