Good news for future tech: Exotic "topological" materials are surprisingly common

February 28, 2019

A new online catalogue makes it easy to predict topological behaviors in materials

Once thought rare, strangely behaving substances called "topological materials" are in fact quite common, a finding that bodes well for their potential use in future electronics. An international team of researchers has assembled an online catalogue, based on the periodic table, to make it easy to design new versions of these unusual materials.

In a major step forward for an area of research that earned the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics, an international team has found that substances with exotic electronic behaviors called topological materials are in fact quite common, and include everyday elements such as arsenic and gold. The team created an online catalogue ( to make it easy to design new topological materials using elements from the periodic table.

These materials have unexpected and strange properties that have shifted scientists' understanding of how electrons behave. Researchers hope these substances could form the basis of technologies of the future, such as low-power devices and quantum computing. 

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