Harvard University researchers have demonstrated the first material that can have both strongly correlated electron interactions and topological properties.
This discovery not only paves the way for more stable quantum computing, but also creates an entirely new platform to explore the wild world of exotic physics.
Topological insulators are materials that can conduct electricity on their surface or edge, but not in the middle. The strange thing about these materials is that no matter how you cut them, the surface will always be conducting and the middle always insulating. These materials offer a playground for fundamental physics, and are also promising for a number of applications in special types of electronics and quantum computing.
Since the discovery of topological insulators, researchers around the world have been working to identify materials with these powerful properties.
“A recent boom in condensed-matter physics has come from discovering materials with topologically protected properties,” said Harris Pirie, a graduate student in the Department of Physics and first author of the paper.
Source: “A platform for table quantum computing, a playground for exotic physics”, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Leah Burrows