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Time-Reversal Soliton Pairs In Even Spin-Chern-Number Higher-Order Topological Insulators

Yi-Chun HungBaokai WangChen-Hsuan HsuArun BansilHsin Lin
Nov 2023
Solitons formed through the one-dimensional mass-kink mechanism on the edges of two-dimensional systems with non-trivial topology play an important role in the emergence of higher-order (HO) topological phases. In this connection, the existing work in time-reversal symmetric systems has focused on gapping the edge Dirac cones in the presence of particle-hole symmetry, which is not suited to the common spin-Chern insulators. Here, we address the emergence of edge solitons in spin-Chern number of $2$ insulators, in which the edge Dirac cones are gapped by perturbations preserving time-reversal symmetry but breaking spin-$U(1)$ symmetry. Through the mass-kink mechanism, we thus explain the appearance of pairwise corner modes and predict the emergence of extra charges around the corners. By tracing the evolution of the mass term along the edge, we demonstrate that the in-gap corner modes and the associated extra charges can be generated through the $S_z$-mixing spin-orbit coupling via the mass-kink mechanism. We thus provide strong evidence that an even spin-Chern-number insulator is an HO topological insulator with protected corner charges.
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