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Topological Insulator

Inside insulator, outside conductor
Topological insulators are novel materials with great potential for applications in information technologies. On the inside, they do not conduct electricity, but on their surfaces, electric currents can flow with less resistivity and heat emission than other conventional materials. Topological insulators are thus promising candidates for the development of faster and more energy-efficient computers and could prove to be the class of materials chosen as the basis for a new "green" information technology.

Using advanced methods from theoretical physics in which the interactions between electrons in the material are treated quantum mechanically, PGI-1 simulates and analyzes the electronic properties of topological insulators. These studies aim to discover the most suitable materials for practical applications.

The figure shows a 3-dimensional representation of the surface states of the topological insulator antimony telluride. The conical electron dispersion (shown in red), a so-called Dirac cone, is a typical feature of topological materials.  

Original publication: Many-body corrected tight-binding Hamiltonians for an accurate quasiparticle description of topological insulators of the Bi2Se3 family; I. Aguilera et al.; Phys. Rev. B 100, 155147 - Published 30 October 2019 

Research division: Quantum Theory of Materials (PGI-1/IAS-1)

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