Topological insulators

Topological insulators are materials that are insulating in their interior but can support the flow of electrons on their surface. The underlying cause is time-reversal symmetry: their physics is independent of whether time is flowing backward or forward. These surface states are robust, maintained even in the presence of surface defects.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    A condensate of excitons was theoretically conjectured in the 1960s but has been challenging to pinpoint experimentally. Evidence has now emerged that it could be the ground state of tungsten ditelluride, a rich topological material.

    • Vitor M. Pereira
    Nature Physics 18, 6-7
  • Comments & Opinion |

    Passing a supercurrent through a topological material can highlight the existence of higher-order boundary states, and may lead to applications in topological superconductivity.

    • Yaojia Wang
    • , Gil-Ho Lee
    •  & Mazhar N. Ali
    Nature Physics 17, 542-546
  • News & Views |

    Strong experimental evidence for the existence of the simplest type of anyons (particles that are neither bosons nor fermions) has emerged this year. The next step is to uncover more exotic types of anyons, such as Majorana fermions.

    • Jay Sau
    • , Steven Simon
    •  & James R. Williams
  • News & Views |

    Two distinct topological states that are closely tied to the spin configurations of a layered compound, here MnBi2Te4, have been demonstrated. Such control of the topological state should enable new opportunities to realize quantum and spintronic devices.

    • Peng Wei
    •  & Jagadeesh S. Moodera
    Nature Materials 19, 481-482
  • Research Highlights |

    Topological insulator band theory usually neglects electron correlations as these are overridden by spin–orbit coupling. Now, two papers strongly confine 1D topological edge states in order to study the effect of correlations.

    • Ankita Anirban
  • News & Views |

    Inducing a topological phase transition by applying pressure is shown to be a successful strategy for improving the performance of thermoelectric materials.

    • Qiang Li
    Nature Materials 18, 1267-1268