BENGALURU: Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have published a study that may have far reaching consequences in the fields of electronics and quantum computing.
For many years now scientists have been hunting for unique materials called “topological insulators”, which can conduct current on the surface but are insulated on the inside. So far very few examples of such materials have been found. Topological insulators are expected to have wide-ranging applications because of their special properties.
A new study by a graduate student of the department of physics at IISc, Adhip Agarwala, and published in the Physical Review Letter, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, predicts that topological insulators can also be found among materials without a distinct shape, such as some forms of glass, where
atoms are randomly arranged.
“Now, there are much more opportunities to find topological insulators,” says senior author of the study and professor, Department of Physics, IISc. Computer models were used to construct 2D and 3D structures.
“People have been only looking at crystalline materials. And they haven’t found very good topological insulators. Even theoretically, people can now look at many, many substances, not only amorphous materials. We have shown for the ‘worst-case scenario’ where the structure is completely random. We can think about many more materials in between crystalline and amorphous, and ask if topological insulators can exist,” says Adhip.