(SciTechDaily) Discovering ways to control the topological aspects of quantum materials is an important research frontier because it can lead to desirable electrical and spin transport properties for future device technologies. Now Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) scientists have discovered a pioneering laser-driven approach to generate a topological state in graphene.
Topological transport is usually induced in materials by applying strong magnetic fields or by crafting compounds with strong spin-orbit coupling. Researchers in Andrea Cavalleri’s group at the MPSD have now demonstrated that a coherent interaction with circularly polarized light can also induce topological electrical currents in the material graphene.
“This work shows that light is capable of engineering topological properties in topologically trivial materials”, says study’s co-author Gregor Jotzu. “The ultrafast appearance of this effect holds great potential for the construction of extremely fast sensors or computers.”

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