University of Cambridge > > Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy Seminar Series > The effects of temperature on topological materials

The effects of temperature on topological materials

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Yonatan Calahorra.

Topological materials exhibit exotic properties such as dissipantionless charge and spin currents that could form the basis for novel technological applications such as low-power electronics or spintronics devices. However, many topological materials lose their topological order upon increasing temperature, thus hampering practical applications.

I will describe the interplay between topology and temperature, showing that thermal expansion and electron-phonon coupling contribute similarly to the temperature dependence of the properties of topological materials. Using the Bi2Se3 family of topological insulators as an example, I will explain why increasing temperature tends to destroy topological order. However, I will argue that this is not a fundamental constraint on topological materials, and I will show how it is also possible to design materials in which the opposite behaviour is observed, presenting PbO2 as the first example of a material in which temperature promotes a topologically ordered phase. Finally, I will discuss how temperature may be exploited to identify the correct topological phase of a material, an approach that will prove particularly useful close to the boundary between two phases with different topological order.

This talk is part of the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy Seminar Series series.

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