Scientists discover exotic quantum state at room temperature

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Scientists discover exotic quantum state at room temperature

By Tom Garlinghouse

Princeton researchers are leaders in many fields, including quantum science and engineering. In a paper published in the October issue of Nature Materials, researchers observed quantum behaviors in an exotic material called a topological insulator at room temperature for the first time.

Typically, inducing and observing quantum states in topological insulators requires temperatures around absolute zero, which is equal to minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The novel topological properties of matter have emerged as one of the most sought-after treasures in modern physics, both from a fundamental physics point of view and for finding potential applications in next-generation quantum engineering and nanotechnologies,” said M. Zahid Hasan, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics, who led the research.

Hasan’s team fabricated a new kind of topological insulator made from bismuth bromide, an inorganic crystalline compound sometimes used for water treatment and chemical analyses.