W. H. Bragg Lecture 2012

From Topological Insulators to Majorana Fermions
Presented by Charles Kane, University of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 - 4:30pm

A topological insulator is a material that is an insulator on its interior, but has special conducting states on its surface. These surface states are unlike any other known two dimensional conductor. They are characterized by a unique Dirac type dispersion relation and are protected by a topological property of material's underlying electronic structure.

Topological insulators have attracted considerable interest as a fundamentally new electronic phase with applications from spintronics to quantum computing. In this talk we will outline the theoretical discovery of this phase and describe experiments that have observed its signatures in both two and three dimensional electronic systems. We will close by arguing that the proximity effect between an ordinary superconductor and a topological insulator leads to a novel interface state that may provide a new venue for observing a Majorana fermion and for realizing proposals for topological quantum computation.

About the W. H. Bragg Lecture

About the W.H. Bragg Lecture

In 2004 UCL's Department of Physics and Astronomy decided to establish a series of annual lectures celebrating major advances in condensed matter physics. The series was named after William Henry Bragg, who was the Head of Department from 1915 to 1923. X-ray diffraction analysis of crystal structures began with W. H. Bragg’s instrumentation and insight, and with the availability of synchrotron sources it has developed into an important tool in modern biology.