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Heterostructures combining topological and nontopological materials constitute the next frontier in the effort to incorporate topological insulators (TIs) into electronic devices. We show that the properties of the interface states appearing at the boundary between a topologically trivial semiconductor (SE) and a TI are controlled by the lowering of the interface symmetry due to the presence of the SE. For the [111]-grown heterostructure, SE-TI interface states exhibit elliptical contours of constant energy and complex spin textures with broken helicity, in contrast to the well-studied helical Dirac surface states. We derive a general effective Hamiltonian for SE-TI junctions, and propose experimental signatures such as an out of plane spin accumulation under a transport current and the opening of a spectral gap that depends on the direction of an applied in-plane magnetic field.

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Physical Review B