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Topology in Real and Momentum Space: Vortex Majorana Modes and Weyl Semimetals

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Topology has many different manifestations in condensed matter physics. Real space examples include topological defects such as vortices, while momentum space ones include topological band structures and singularities in the electronic dispersion. In this talk, I will focus on two examples. The first is that of a vortex in a topological insulator that is doped into the superconducting state. This system, we find, has Majorana zero modes and thus, is a particularly simple way of obtaining these states. We derive general existence criteria for vortex Majorana modes and find that existing systems like Cu-doped Bi2Se3 fulfill them. In the process, we discover a rare example of a topological phase transition within a topological defect (the vortex) at the point when the criteria are violated.

The second example is that of Weyl semimetals, which are three-dimensional analogs of graphene. Interestingly, the Dirac nodes here are topological objects in momentum space and are associated with peculiar Fermi-arc surface states. We discuss charge transport in these materials in the presence of interactions or disorder, and find encouraging agreement with existing experimental data.