UCL Global


Routes to designer topological materials in nanostructures

Generating new ways of to build topographical materials. Part of the Cities partnership Programme.

23 September 2022

This project comes from a mixed group of experimentalists and theorists who come at this problem from different directions, and aims to generate theoretical and experimental ideas for new ways to build topological materials ‘from the ground up’ using two routes, and for new ways to probe them once they are constructed.

Topological materials are one of the most exciting areas of modern physics and materials science. These materials support electronic excitations whose structures are fundamentally different from those of ordinary space (‘the vacuum’): they are topologically distinct in the same sense that a teacup differs from a cereal bowl, by possessing an extra hole for the handle. Because of this fundamental difference, it turns out there must be special excitations living at the boundary between a topological material and the vacuum, and those excitations are given an extra robustness: they cannot be destroyed without changing the topology of the excitations of the entire material.

This robustness makes them of great fundamental interest to physicists and researchers who want to identify robust excitations to use as the basis for new quantum technologies. This would both improve our fundamental understanding of the nature of the states, and provide a basis for using topologically non-trivial nanostructures as components in larger quantum devices.



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