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Topological Materials: A New Dimension of Properties and Their Amazing Applications

By Dr. Inés Urdaneta / Physicist at Resonance Science Foundation

The word topology refers to the contours of a surface or the shape of an object. In mathematics, topology classifies objects by the number of holes they have. A ball is a sphere with no hole, whereas a doughnut, with its one hole, is topologically different. The ball is topologically equivalent to an apple, and a doughnut to a cup, but not to a ball or a pretzel, since going from one topology to another would require a dramatic change, like ripping a hole. For this reason, the topological states discovered in some materials are robust and resist disruptions, unless they are as dramatic as the one mentioned previously.

Topological materials provide certain electronic states that persist despite a modification to their physical shape. What’s important isn’t the shape itself but the structure of its electronic bands; regions of electronic energy distribution particular to each material. The electronic...

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