We study the stability of multiple conducting edge states in a topological insulator against perturbations allowed by the time-reversal symmetry. A system is modeled as a multi-channel Luttinger liquid, with the number of channels equal to the number of Kramers doublets at the edge. Assuming strong interactions and weak disorder, we first formulate a low-energy effective theory for a clean translation invariant system and then include the disorder terms allowed by the time-reversal symmetry. In a clean system with N Kramers doublets, N − 1 edge states are gapped by Josephson couplings and the single remaining gapless mode describes collective motion of Cooper pairs synchronous across the channels. Disorder perturbation in this regime, allowed by the time reversal symmetry is a simultaneous backscattering of particles in all N channels. Its relevance depends strongly on the parity if the number of channel N is not very large. Our main result is that disorder becomes irrelevant with the increase of the number of edge modes leading to the stability of the edge states superconducting regime even for repulsive interactions.
Bibliographical noteThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Funding: This work was supported by the Leverhulme Trust Grant No. RPG-2019-317 (IY), and MOST/MESU Grant No. 3-16430 (VK).