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Proposal for realizing anomalous Floquet insulators via Chern band annihilation

Carolyn Zhang, Tobias Holder, Netanel H. Lindner, Mark Rudner, Erez Berg

SciPost Phys. 12, 124 (2022) · published 11 April 2022


Two-dimensional periodically driven systems can host an unconventional topological phase unattainable for equilibrium systems, termed the Anomalous Floquet-Anderson insulator (AFAI). The AFAI features a quasi-energy spectrum with chiral edge modes and a fully localized bulk, leading to non-adiabatic but quantized charge pumping. Here, we show how such a Floquet phase can be realized in a driven, disordered Quantum Anomalous Hall insulator, which is assumed to have two critical energies where the localization length diverges, carrying states with opposite Chern numbers. Driving the system at a frequency close to resonance between these two energies localizes the critical states and annihilates the Chern bands, giving rise to an AFAI phase. We exemplify this principle by studying a model for a driven, magnetically doped topological insulator film, where the annihilation of the Chern bands and the formation of the AFAI phase is demonstrated using the rotating wave approximation. This is complemented by a scaling analysis of the localization length for two copies of a quantum Hall network model with a tunable coupling between them. We find that by tuning the frequency of the driving close to resonance, the driving strength required to stabilize the AFAI phase can be made arbitrarily small.

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