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Physics Status of topological matter?

  1. Jul 22, 2016 #1
    I went to an applied phd program in computational biology and got bored, so now I'm considering physics. Topological matter looks fancy/sort of interesting. Does it have anything to do with actual experiments (and I mean more than just insulators/superconductors) yet? I would assume that to enter the field I'd need to be a confirmed genius if I wanted an actual academic position.

    I just want to know if it's a fringe topic or something worth pursuing for a PhD.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2016 #2


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    Are you referring to things like symmetry protected topological phases (Z2 topological insulators) and topologically ordered systems (fractional quantum hall)? Those are actually very hot topics in condensed matter.
  4. Jul 22, 2016 #3
    Exciting! What's the connection to experiment currently? Are people very optimistic? Pessimistic?
  5. Jul 23, 2016 #4


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    It's a pretty big field in terms of theoretical work but terms of materials experiments I know that there are many known examples of Z2 topological insulators as well as some recently discovered topological semimetals (these are a more complicated case though) and spin liquids (topologically ordered). People have also observed some signatures of Majorana bound states in semiconducting wires and an iron atom chain I think. The latter is a big topic in topological quantum computing.
  6. Jul 24, 2016 #5
    Very interesting. Who are the really good theorists? I doubt I'm cut out for theory, but I'm curious to check it out any way.
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