Representatives of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the names of winners of the Nobel prize for physics 2016: the prize was awarded to David Taules and Duncan Haldane (Duncan Haldane) and Michael Kosterlitz (Michael Kosterlitz) for “the theoretical discovery of topological phase transitions (DFT) and topological phases of matter”. Taules will receive half of the prize, the other half will be divided between the Haldane and Kosterlitz. Scientists were able to reveal the secrets of exotic matter.
the Nobel Committee noted that this year’s winners managed to open the door to an unknown world, in which matter can take strange state. Researchers used advanced mathematical methods to study the unusual phases (or States) of matter – for example, arising in superconductivity or superfluidity.
Thanks to the pioneering works of physicists, that were held in the 70-ies of the last century, today, work is underway to find new, exotic phases of matter. Many researchers hope that such future work will be useful to researchers working in materials science and electronics. Certain hopes are associated with the quantum computers and for their development of the knowledge acquired by Taules, Kosterlitz and Haldane, is also very important.
the Use of topological concepts in physics by all three winners was the decisive moment in their discoveries. Explain. Topology is a branch of mathematics concerned with the study of properties of figures (or spaces) that are preserved under continuous deformations, such as tensile, compression or bending. In this section, are not considered metric properties of objects (for example, the distance between two points). More important for the topology are the notions of homeomorphism and homotopy – we can say that the types of deformation occurring without tears and joint.
in Other words, the topology describes properties which remain unchanged when an object is stretched, twisted and deformed, but not when it is broken. For example, in terms of topology, the sphere and the Cup belong to the same category as a spherical piece of clay can turn into a Cup (see figure below). However, a donut with a hole in the middle and a coffee Cup with a hole in the handle belongs to a different category — they can also be modified at each other.
Thus, topological objects depending on the type can be one hole or several, but their number must be an integer. This is important, we’ll get to that later.
that this conclusion has proved useful in the description of the behavior of the electrical conductivity in the quantum Hall effect.
Using a topology as a tool, the scientists were able to impress experts. In the early 1970-ies Kosterlitz and Taules “overthrew” then the theory that, superconductivity and superfluidity can occur in thin layers. Scientists demonstrated that superconductivity can exist at low temperatures and also explained the phase transition, which causes superconductivity to disappear at high temperatures.
In the 1980-ies Taules could explain what is happening in a very thin electrically conductive layers (i.e., two-dimensional materials), in which the conductance varied as integer values. He showed that tselochislennost was topological in nature. And about the same time, Haldane discovered how topological concepts can be used to understand the properties of the formed in the material of chains of smaller “magnets”.
Today the world is aware of many topological phases, not only in thin layers, but also in ordinary three-dimensional, or three dimensional materials. In the last decades, the interest in this field of research condensed matter physics has greatly increased, largely because of the hope that topological materials can be useful for creating electronics and superconductors a new generation.
Another area of research that has become popular, thanks to the theoretical research of Nobel laureates — topological insulators. These materials do not conduct electricity in its volume, only in a thin layer at the surface. It is believed that such conventional materials can be used in quantum computers as the media. It is interesting that at first their existence was proven again in theory, and only then they were discovered in real experiments.
we will Add that in 2015 the Nobel prize in physics was awarded to Takaaki kajita from Japan and Arthur McDonald from Canada who discovered neutrino oscillations, indicating they have mass.
Yesterday it was also announced the name of the Nobel laureate in medicine and physiology, which explained the nature of the universal “self-blame”.