The Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics announces the seventh mini-course by Stanford physics faculty on recent fundamental advances in theoretical physics. This will be the first of two public lectures given by Professor Shoucheng Zhang.
For the past 60 years, progress in information technology has been governed by Moore's law, which states that the number of transistors on a semiconductor chip doubles every 18 months. However, this remarkable trend is drawing to a close, mostly because the electrons that carry current in chips move like cars driving through a crowded marketplace, swerving around obstacles and dissipating too much of their energy as heat. The recent discovery of a new state of matter "the topological insulator" may lead to a new paradigm of information processing, in which electrons moving in opposing directions are separated into well-ordered lanes, like automobiles on a highway. This talk will explain the basic principles behind this amazing discovery.