Optical signature of topological insulators

Ming Che Chang*, Min Fong Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

95 Scopus citations


The axion coupling in topological insulators couples electric polarization with magnetic field, and magnetization with electric field. As a result, the usual laws of electromagnetic wave propagation are modified. We report on the Fresnel formula for the reflection of electromagnetic wave at the interface of materials with different axion couplings. The Brewster angle and the Goos-Hänchen effect are also studied. We find that, because of the axion coupling, in order to realize the Brewster-angle condition, the incident polarization should be rotated away from the plane of incidence. The maximum angle of rotation is π/4 when both materials have nearly the same refraction indices. This offers a convenient way to determine the axion angle by optical measurement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113304
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 16 09 2009
Externally publishedYes


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