Identifying Exotic Properties of Materials

April 17, 2019

Illustration by Xiangang Wan and Feng Tang (Nanjing)

In the decades since they were first theorized, scientists have suggested that the exotic properties of topological materials — that is, materials that maintain their electrical properties even in the face of radical temperature shifts or structural deformation — could result in everything from more energy-efficient electronics to the development of novel superconductors and quantum computers.

The problem, however, is that identifying the materials with those properties is frustratingly difficult.

To speed up the process, Professor of Physics Ashvin Vishwanath and his colleagues conducted a series of studies to develop methods for efficiently identifying new materials that display topological properties.

The first two, published in Nature this February and co-authored with Po and Feng Tang and Xingang Wan, from Nanjing University, demonstrates the power of the approach and predicts thousands of topological materials candidates.

Continue reading "Identifying Exotic Properties" by Peter Reuell, The Harvard Gazette, April 16, 2019.