New Topologically Ordered Phases of Condensed Matter

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Date/Time:Monday, 26 Mar 2012 from 4:00 pm to 4:50 pm
Location:Physics Hall Room 5
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Dr. Joel Moore (Berkeley)

Abstract: Much of condensed matter physics is concerned with understanding how different kinds of order emerge from interactions between a large number of simple constituents. Topological order has been known for three decades to occur in the quantum Hall effect of two-dimensional electron systems under extreme conditions. A different kind of topological order was recently discovered following theoretical predictions in some three-dimensional materials, dubbed "topological insulators," in zero magnetic fields. Spin-order coupling, an intrinsic property of all solids, drives the formation of the topological state.

This talk will explain what topological order means, how topological insulators were predicted and discovered, and how they realize the "axion electrodynamics" studied by particle physicists in the 1980s. Connections to other fields and efforts to find strongly correlated topological insulators are discussed in closing.

Bio: Joel Moore is Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Faculty Scientist in the Materials Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He received his A.B. from Princeton and Ph.D. from MIT and was a postdoctoral scientist at Bell Labs before moving to Berkeley in 2002. His research focuses on the electronic properties of solids with additional interests in atomic physics, thermoelectric, and quantum information.