Defect tolerant zero-bias topological photocurrent in a ferroelectric semiconductor


Hiroki Hatada, Masao Nakamura, Masato Sotome, Yoshio Kaneko, Naoki Ogawa, Takahiro Morimoto, Yoshinori Tokura, Masashi Kawasaki

Lattice defect is a major cause of energy dissipation in conventional electric current due to the drift and diffusion motions of electrons. Different nature of current emerges when noncentrosymmetric materials are excited by light. This current, called the shift current, originates from the change in the Berry connection of electrons’ wave functions during the interband optical transition. Here, we demonstrate the defect tolerance of shift current using single crystals of ferroelectric semiconductor antimony sulfoiodide (SbSI). Although the dark conductance spreads over several orders of magnitude in each crystal due to the difference in the density of defect levels, the observed shift current converges to an identical value. We also reveal that the shift current is scarcely disturbed by the surface defects while they drastically suppress the conventional photocurrent. The defect tolerance is a manifestation of the topological nature of shift current, which will be a crucial advantage in optoelectronic applications.