Condensed Matter Program
The methods of topology have been applied to condensed matter physics in the study of topological phases of matter. Topological states of matter are new quantum states that can be characterized by their topological properties. For example, the first topological states of matter discovered were the integer quantum Hall states. The two dimensional integer quantum Hall effect was characterized by an integral number which can be understood as a Chern number of the Berry phase. Chern numbers are topological invariants that play an important role in different areas of mathematics. More recently, new topological states of matter known as topological insulators and topological superconductors have been realized theoretically and experimentally. The characterization of new phases of matter using topological invariants has allowed for a better understanding and even predictions of new phases of matter. The use of topology could lead to the discovery of new electronic, photonic, and ultracold atomic states of matter previously unknown. The concrete problems in the physical phenomena could inspire new developments in the study of topological invariants in mathematics.