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Monserrat-2018-1

Topological materials at finite temperature

Topology has emerged as a new tool to classify and understand phases of matter. Materials with nontrivial topology carry currents that cannot be stopped by impurities, exhibit electromagnetic effects beyond the standard Maxwell equations, and provide realisations of particles such as Weyl fermions that had so far only been theorised in particle physics. This makes them attractive candidate materials for applications such as dissipationless electronics or quantum computers.  We have a good understanding of topological materials at zero temperature, but very little is known about their behaviour at higher temperatures, which is a necessary condition for future applications of these materials in technology.

In this project we will use quantum mechanical simulations to investigate the properties of topological materials when we include the effects of temperature. We will do this by including both thermal expansion and electron-phonon coupling in our calculations, and we will investigate a range of topological materials, including topological insulators, topological crystalline insulators, and Chern insulators.