Quantum many-body topology of crystals and quasicrystals

PIRSA ID: 21120022
Series: Colloquium
Event Type: Seminar
Scientific Area(s):
Quantum Matter
End date:

When an interacting quantum many-body system is cooled down to its ground state, there can be discrete "topological invariants" that characterize the properties of such ground states. This leads to the concept of "topological phases of matter" distinguished by these topological invariants. Experimental manifestations of these topological phases of matter include the integer and fractional quantum Hall effect, as well as topological insulators.

In this talk, after a general overview of topological phases of matter, I will explain how to define topological invariants that are specific to the ground states of regular crystals, i.e. systems that are periodic in space. I will discuss the physical manifestations of the resulting "crystalline topological phases", including implications for the properties of crystalline defects such as dislocations and disclinations. Then, I will explain how these ideas can be generalized to quasicrystals, which are a different class of materials that have long-range spatial order without exact periodicity. These ideas ultimately lead to a general classification principle for crystalline and quasicrystalline topological phases of matter.