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Topological Chemistry in Ternary Compunds

Project description

A chemical view of ternary topological insulators

The discovery of topological insulators has led to a surge in theoretical and experimental activities in condensed matter and materials science. Understanding of their topological electronic structure from a chemical view is, however, still limited. Funded under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme, the TOPCHEM project aims to provide a chemical description of ternary topological insulators. After growing high-quality single crystals and tuning their Fermi level by chemical doping or by controlling their intrinsic defects, the project will use synchrotron and low-energy electron diffraction as well as X-ray absorption near the edge to study their bulk and surface structures. A detailed view of their thermoelectric transport properties will enable researchers to optimise ternary topological insulators for thermoelectric applications.


The discovery of topological insulators has ignited intensive research activity in condensed matter and materials science. However, the understanding of topological electronic structure from a chemical view is still deficient.

This action proposes the investigation of novel ternary ABC topological insulators (A: alkali, alkaline earth, rare earth, Group 11, B: alkaline earth or Group 8-12, C: main group element) by focusing on three aspects: 1) growth of high-quality single crystals; 2) structural characterisation and relation between topological electronic structure and chemical concepts; 3) manipulation of electronic structure aiming at thermoelectric applications.

First, high-quality ABC single crystals with selected composition will be grown by suitable methods. The Fermi level will be tuned by chemical doping or controlling the intrinsic defects to observe the topological physics.

Subsequently, a detailed bulk and surface structural characterisation will be performed. The electronic structure of a material in the reciprocal space can be linked to chemical concepts in real space, such as chemical bonding, electronegativity differences, orbital overlap, etc. A systematic study of the crystalline bulk and surface structures will be performed by Synchrotron and low energy electron diffraction, and X-ray absorption near the edge, to find the relation between chemical concepts and the electronic structure of selected topological materials.

Finally, based on the understanding of the relation between chemical concepts and electronic structure, the thermoelectric transport properties of these novel ABC topological insulators will be investigated and optimised for thermoelectric applications.

The implementation of this project will deepen the understanding of topological chemistry and stimulate the technological application of topological materials. It will contribute to EU Horizon 2020 goals creating a single market for knowledge, research, and innovation.



Net EU contribution
€ 162 806,40
Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Munchen

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Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00