The 20th AIMR Tea Time Talk


Prof. Arun Bansil
(Physics Department, Northeastern University)


Topological Phases of Quantum Matter as Novel Platforms for Fundamental Science and Applications


July 7 (Fri.), 2017 16:00-17:00


Combination Room, 5th floor, WPI-AIMR Main Bldg.


I will discuss how topological phases arise in quantum matter through spin-orbit coupling effects in the presence of protections provided by time-reversal, crystalline and particle-hole symmetries, and highlight our recent work aimed at predicting new classes of topological insulators (TIs), topological crystalline insulators, Weyl semi-metals, and quantum spin Hall insulators. [1-10] Surfaces of three-dimensional (3D) topological materials and edges of two-dimensional (2D) topological materials support novel electronic states. For example, the surface of a 3D TI supports gapless or metallic states, which are robust against disorder and non-magnetic impurities, and in which the directions of momentum and spin are locked with each other. Similarly, in 2D TIs, also called quantum spin Hall insulators, the 1D topological edge states are not allowed to scatter since the only available backscattering channel is forbidden by constraints of time-reversal symmetry. The special symmetry protected electronic states in topological materials hold the exciting promise of providing revolutionary new platforms for exploring fundamental science questions, including novel spin textures and exotic superconductors, and for the realization of multifunctional topological devices for thermoelectric, spintronics, information processing and other applications. Work supported by the U. S. Department of Energy.


  • [1] Bansil, Lin and Das, Reviews of Modern Physics 88, 021004 (2016).
  • [2] Chang et al, Science Advances 2, e1600295 (2016).
  • [3] Huang et al., Proc. National Academy of Sciences 113, 1180 (2016).
  • [4] Zheng et al., ACS Nano 10, 1378 (2016).
  • [5] Xu et al., Science 349, 613 (2015).
  • [6] Zeljkovic et al., Nature Materials 14, 318 (2015).
  • [7] He et al., Nature Materials 14, 577 (2015).
  • [8] Xu et al., Nature Physics 11, 748 (2015).
  • [9] Crisostomo et al., Nano Letters 15, 6568 (2015).
  • [10] Xu et al., Science Advances 1, e1501092 (2015).

Speaker's biography: Prof. Bansil is a University Distinguished Professor in physics at Northeastern University (NU). He served at the US Department of Energy managing the Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics program (2008-10). He is an academic editor of the international Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids (1994-), the founding director of NU’s Advanced Scientific Computation Center, and serves on various international editorial boards and commissions. He has authored/co-authored over 350 technical articles and 18 volumes of conference proceedings covering a wide range of topics in theoretical condensed matter and materials physics, and a major book on X-Ray Compton Scattering (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004).

About Tea Time Talk

AIMR’s Tea Time Talk is a kind of seminar aiming to promote exchange between eminent researchers and young researchers at AIMR, held in a relaxed atmosphere at AIMR’s Friday Tea Time. About twenty researchers from around the world have given talks at this event so far, and participants have enjoyed discussion over a cup of tea.


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