Kondo screening of spin-charge separated fluxons by a helical liquid
Phys. Rev. B, 89 (20), 205125, (2014)
The insertion of a magnetic \( \pi \) flux into a quantum spin Hall insulator creates four localized, spin-charge separated states: the charge and spin fluxons with either charge \( Q=\pm1 \) or spin \( S_z=\pm1/2 \), respectively. In the presence of repulsive Coulomb interactions, the charged states are gapped out and a local moment is formed. We consider the Kane-Mele-Hubbard model on a ribbon with zigzag edges to construct an impurity model where the spin fluxon is screened by the helical edge liquid. In the noninteracting model, the hybridization between fluxon and edge states is dominated by the extent of the latter. It becomes larger with increasing spin-orbit coupling \( \lambda\) but only has nonzero values for even distances between the \( \pi \) flux and the edge. For the interacting system, we use the continuous-time quantum Monte Carlo method, which we have extended by global susceptibility measurements to reproduce the characteristic Curie law of the spin fluxon. However, due to the finite extent of the fluxons, the local moment is formed at rather low energies. The screening of the spin fluxon leads to deviations from the Curie law that follow the universal behavior obtained from a data collapse. Additionally, the Kondo resonance arises in the local spectral function between the two low-lying Hubbard peaks.