Topology and Dynamics unite key fields of research that have recently spurred intense scientific interest but also cover the key functionalities of devices that require stable properties combined with ultra-fast and/or low power operation. The concept of topology plays an important role in nature and has implications in many fields of science as diverse as cosmology, particle physics, quantum manybody systems, superfluidity, liquid crystals, and metal-lurgy. The topology of a system is described by a topological charge, which emerges from the winding of an order parameter that lives in a space characterizing the eigenstates of the system. Topological properties of states of diverse nature now underpin such branches of applied science as topological electronics, skyrmion-based spintronics or quantum computing.
For applications in particular, the topological stability of certain states, also termed topological protection, enables long-term information retention, carrying information with high fidelity or robust low loss transport. To enable functionalization, one also needs capabilities to manipulate the topology dynamically, i.e., rapidly and with low power. The challenge is to switch for instance the topological protection “on” and “off” and thus manipulate the topological states and the encoded information. This enables, for example, the “write” and “erase” processes for information, which is why one needs to study Dynamics in the context of Topology.
The necessary combination of state stability and switching between states characterized by different topological properties is at the foundation of our ability to manipulate and exploit the topological matter. This has been so far an elusive challenge of great practical relevance.
Our project faces this challenge by an interdisciplinary approach gathering some of the most renowned scientist of their fields. It is funded by the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate. It was founded in July 2019 as a collaboration of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern and Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research Mainz.