Technological progress is now more than ever conditioned by the novel materials becoming available for applications. Indeed, with the average of one-year cycle for introducing next generation models to the consumers, the industries are relying more and more on novel materials that can give them an edge over the competition. What is, really, a novel material? Is it something that conducts electricity better, or is more resistant? Not really, because that will only be a gradually improved material. A novel material should conduct electricity in a different way, or should be resistant in un-expected ways, not achievable by gradual improvement. Camelia Prodan and Emil Prodan are the Principal Investigators of the research project “Engineering Novel Materials Based on Topological Phonon Modes,” sponsored by a $1,000,000 award from the Keck Foundation. The long term vision for this project includes the establishment of a permanent Keck Research Center whose mission is to develop novel materials with advanced functionalities based on the topological principles celebrated by the 2016 Nobel awards in Physics, and to apply these discoveries to cancer research. Such materials display radically new surface physics, such as dissipationless transport of charge or of electromagnetic, and mechanical energy. These surface characteristics are a result of the bulk properties of the materials, very much like the emergence of surface charges in dielectrics with permanent bulk polarization. As a result, the surface characteristics are robust against any surface tempering and this provides the basis for a range of completely novel applications, such as bullet proof vests, submarine acoustic shielding, airplane radar shielding, earthquake proofing or cancer research.

MICROTUBULES

Investigating the role of topological edge modes in dynamic instability

TOPOLOGICAL MATERIALS

Designing materials with unique properties: magnetic, acoustic, and water waves
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