Academic and research departmentsDepartment of Physics, Advanced Technology Institute.
We analyze the confinement of electronic surface states in a model of a topological insulator nanowire. Spin-momentum locking in the surface states reduces unwanted backscattering in the presence of nonmagnetic disorder and is known to counteract localization for certain values of magnetic flux threading the wire. We show that intentional backscattering can be induced for a range of conditions in the presence of a nanowire constriction. We propose a geometry for a nanowire that involves two constrictions and show that these regions form effective barriers that allow for the formation of a quantum dot. We analyze the zero-temperature noninteracting electronic transport through the device using the Landauer-B??ttiker approach and show how externally applied magnetic flux parallel to the nanowire and electrostatic gates can be used to control the spectrum of the quantum dot and the electronic transport through the surface states of the model device.