Sometimes mathematical models can lead research in new directions. When Maxwell described electromagnetism in his four equations, it led to a revolution in telecommunications. Researchers now believe that the same thing is about to happen with an advanced form of mathematics, topology, which describes topological material. These materials may provide a foundation for future quantum computers, since their quantum mechanical properties make them extremely resistant to disturbances.
Dr. Emil Bergholtz at Freie Universität Berlin is developing mathematical theories for how this can be achieved, and for understanding the properties of new types of topological materials. One important aim is to produce materials that can robustly house non-Abelian anyons, a type of exotic particle that can only exist in extremely thin layers of material, and which is characterized by topological quantum numbers.
The primary motivation for this research is to understand how non-Abelian anyons behave – but in the long-term there is hope of a future technological breakthrough. As a Wallenberg Academy Fellow, Emil Bergholtz, will be based at Stockholm University.
Photo: Markus Marcetic