Corner modes of the breathing kagome lattice: Origin and robustness

M. A.J. Herrera, S. N. Kempkes, M. Blanco De Paz, A. García-Etxarri, I. Swart, C. Morais Smith, D. Bercioux*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We study the non-trivial phase of the two-dimensional breathing kagome lattice, displaying both edge and corner modes. The corner localized modes of a two-dimensional flake were initially identified as a signature of a higher-order topological phase but later shown to be trivial for perturbations that were thought to protect them. Using various theoretical and simulation techniques, we confirm that it does not display higher-order topology the corner modes are of trivial nature. Nevertheless, they might be protected. First, we show a set of perturbations within a tight-binding model that can move the corner modes away from zero energy, also repeat some perturbations that were used to show that the modes are trivial. In addition, we analyze the protection of the corner modes in more detail and find that only perturbations respecting the sublattice or generalized chiral and crystalline symmetries, and the lattice connectivity, pin the corner modes to zero energy robustly. A destructive interference model corroborates the results. Finally, we analyze a muffin-tin model for the bulk breathing kagome lattice. Using topological and symmetry markers, such as Wilson loops and Topological Quantum Chemistry, we identify the two breathing phases as adiabatically disconnected different obstructed atomic limits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number085411
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2022


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