Classification of topological quantum matter with symmetries

Ching Kai Chiu, Jeffrey C.Y. Teo, Andreas P. Schnyder, Shinsei Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1939 Scopus citations


Topological materials have become the focus of intense research in recent years, since they exhibit fundamentally new physical phenomena with potential applications for novel devices and quantum information technology. One of the hallmarks of topological materials is the existence of protected gapless surface states, which arise due to a nontrivial topology of the bulk wave functions. This review provides a pedagogical introduction into the field of topological quantum matter with an emphasis on classification schemes. Both fully gapped and gapless topological materials and their classification in terms of nonspatial symmetries, such as time reversal, as well as spatial symmetries, such as reflection, are considered. Furthermore, the classification of gapless modes localized on topological defects is surveyed. The classification of these systems is discussed by use of homotopy groups, Clifford algebras, K theory, and nonlinear sigma models describing the Anderson (de)localization at the surface or inside a defect of the material. Theoretical model systems and their topological invariants are reviewed together with recent experimental results in order to provide a unified and comprehensive perspective of the field. While the bulk of this article is concerned with the topological properties of noninteracting or mean-field Hamiltonians, a brief overview of recent results and open questions concerning the topological classifications of interacting systems is also provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035005
JournalReviews of Modern Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 31 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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