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Non-Perturbative Effects in Disordered Topological Insulators

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Gareth Conduit.

Disorder and topology can be thought of as two counter-driving forces. While the former pushes electron wave functions to localize in space, the latter requires them to remain coherent over the entire system. We study the interplay between these two on the surface of a “weakly” topological phase—the Weak Topological Insulator. Using arguments based on flux-insertions and locality, we show that such surfaces cannot undergo a localization transition even when the surface is strongly disordered. We then reformulate the same notions, in field theory language, using a novel Z_2-charge-anomaly. This anomaly generalizes the Z-charge-anomaly associated with edges of the Integer Quantum Hall Effect. Besides unifying various aspects of Topological Insulators, the anomaly allows us to calculate new topological properties of TIs in the presence of electric fields.

This talk is part of the TCM Informal Seminar Series series.

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