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17 december 2018

Approved FOM programme

Number 134. 
Title Topological insulators (TI)
Executive organisational unit BUW
Programme management Prof.dr. M.S. Golden
Duration 2012-2017 
Cost estimate M€ 2.7

The primary aims of FOM programme 134 are to create, investigate and control the novel electronic, magnetic and superconducting properties arising from topologically protected electronic states in 2D and in particular 3D topological insulator (TI) systems. The programme consortium will make 3D TI's in the form of high quality single crystals and thin films, mainly based on the Bi-based family of materials (Bi2Se3, Bi2Te3, Bi2Te2Se etc.). These samples will be extensively investigated using surface sensitive spectroscopies & transport probes. In addition, they will be studied regarding the interaction between topological crystalline defects and the topological electronic states, as well as regards interfacing to metals, magnets and super­conductors. Mastery of the create - investigate - control cycle, in which experimental and theoretical insight go hand in hand, will enable the consortium to reach flagship goals ranging from a robust and convincing quantum (anomalous) Hall effect from the surface states of a 3D TI up to proof of the existence of Majorana fermions in TI devices. 

Background, relevance and implementation
Topological insulators are a research theme at the forefront of global current physics as well as materials chemistry and materials science interest. Not only is this field of great impact as regards understanding novel electronic and magnetic properties, it is also spilling over into neighbouring areas, such as the ultracold quantum gases.
The special significance of this field is that the basic mathematical concept of topology makes itself felt - even at room temperature - in the existence of conducting edge/surface states against the background, ideally, of an insulating bulk in 2D/3D TI materials. In addition, the peculiar scattering behaviour and hundred percent spin-polarisation of these edge states makes these materials of great interest as a possible future platform for low-power spintronic applications and even topological quantum information processing.
The programme consortium, comprising groups from Amsterdam, Twente, Delft & Leiden, has been carefully selected to bring together high-level expertise in areas such as materials, nanoscience, surface studies, superconductivity and solid-state quantum information processing.
The programme is implemented around three central objectives covering the creation (single crystals, thin films, dislocations and strained systems), investigation (electronic structure, transport, magnetic & superconducting properties) and control (devices, surface-dominated transport, quantum [anomalous] Hall, Majorana fermions) of 2D & 3D TI-based systems. All three objectives involve an orchestrated interplay between experiment ⇔ experiment, experiment ⇔ theory and between the theory activities. 

The final evaluation of this programme will consist of a self-evaluation initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2017.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2013 within this FOM programme here.