A new review article on magnetic topological materials presents a new theoretical concept that identifies and investigates potential new magnetic topological materials and suggests their possible applications in spin and quantum electronics.

The article discusses the relationship between topology, symmetry and magnetism at a level suitable for graduate students studying physics, chemistry and materials science and having a basic knowledge of condensed matter physics.

Magnetic topological materials are a class of compounds whose properties are strongly influenced by the topology of the electronic wave functions in combination with their spin configuration. Topology is a simple concept dealing with the surfaces of objects. The topology of a mathematical structure is identical if it is preserved under continuous deformation. For example, a pancake has the same topology as a cube, a donut has the same topology as a coffee cup, a pretzel has the same topology as a board with three holes. The addition of spin offers an additional structure for realizing new states of matter unknown in non-magnetic materials. Magnetic topological materials can support chiral channels of electrons and spins and can be used for a variety of tasks, from information storage, control of non-dissipative spin and charge transfer, to giant responses to external stimuli such as temperature and light.

This review summarizes the theoretical and experimental progress made in the field of magnetic topological materials, starting with the theoretical prediction of the quantum anomalous Hall effect without Landau levels, and ending with the recent discoveries of magnetic Weyl semimetals and antiferromagnetic topological insulators. Recent theoretical progress is described, which has led to the compilation of tables of all representations of magnetic symmetry groups and topology. As a result, all known magnetic materials, including future discoveries, can be fully characterized by their topological properties.

The identification of materials for a specific technological application (for example, a quantum anomaly hall) is simple. Using this approach, magnetic topological materials with magnetic transition temperatures above room temperature can be identified – or, if necessary – developed for classical devices such as thermoelectric devices, Hall sensors or efficient catalysts.

According to researcher Chaim Beidenkopf, the quantum computer is the most exciting field in science today.

“My main goal is to develop a material that demonstrates the high-temperature quantum Hall anomaly through quantum confinement of the magnetic Weyl semimetal and its integration into quantum devices,” the researcher noted.