Research Topic

Topological Defects: Fundamentals and Applications

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About this Research Topic

Topological defects (TDs) may be critical to our understanding of science. Fields likely represent a basic entity of nature, and in this context topologically protected TDs in relevant fields could play the role of fundamental particles. For example, Skyrme’s description of nucleons as topologically protected ...

Topological defects (TDs) may be critical to our understanding of science. Fields likely represent a basic entity of nature, and in this context topologically protected TDs in relevant fields could play the role of fundamental particles. For example, Skyrme’s description of nucleons as topologically protected solitons: skyrmions. Subsequent discoveries of other topologically equivalent structures include spin textures in quantum Hall magnets, Turing patterns in classical liquids and blue phases in liquid crystals. There is even the potential for the physics of TDs to make inroads into unveiling the ‘mysteries’ of dark matter and dark energy.

TDs inevitably arise in field configurations which describe symmetry-breaking phase transitions, which occur at all scales of physics, including condensed matter systems, particle physics and cosmology. Due to their topological origin, the behavior of TDs is pervaded with universalities, independent of their host physical field. For example, condensed matter systems, such as superfluids and superconductors, exhibit broken symmetries and resulting TDs which correspond closely to cosmological systems, such as the broken symmetries of the quantum vacuum of the Universe, and some aspects of particle physics. The difference is that TDs in condensed matter systems are relatively easily experimentally created, manipulated and observed. They display a rich diversity of configurations in which a great variety of defect structures can be realized. In addition to their importance for fundamental science, TDs in condensed matter systems could be exploited for various applications.

This Research Topic aims to address a broad range of phenomena related to TDs in condensed matter materials. We welcome Original Research and Review manuscripts addressing phenomena and behaviors of TDs, their impact on effective material properties and their possible applications.

The Topic Editors would like to acknowledge Dr. Yuji Sasaki from Hokkaido University for providing the cover image.


Keywords: Topological Defects, Fundamental Particles, Topology, Curvature, Cosmology


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