Trivial and inverted Dirac bands and the emergence of quantum spin Hall states in graphene on transition-metal dichalcogenides
Proximity orbital and spin-orbital effects of graphene on monolayer transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) are investigated from first-principles. The Dirac band structure of graphene is found to lie within the semiconducting gap of TMDCs for sulfides and selenides, while it merges with the valence band for tellurides. In the former case, the proximity-induced staggered potential gaps and spin-orbit couplings (all on the meV scale) of the Dirac electrons are established by fitting to a phenomenological effective Hamiltonian. While graphene on MoS2, MoSe2, and WS2 has a topologically trivial band structure, graphene on WSe2 exhibits inverted bands. Using a realistic tight-binding model we find topologically protected helical edge states for graphene zigzag nanoribbons on WSe2, demonstrating the quantum spin Hall effect. This model also features "half-topological states," which are protected against time-reversal disorder on one edge only.