About this online course


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Course video

The idea behind topological systems is simple: if there exists a quantity, which cannot change in an insulating system where all the particles are localized, then the system must become conducting and obtain propagating particles when the quantity (called a "topological invariant") finally changes.

The practical applications of this principle are quite profound, and already within the last eight years they have lead to prediction and discovery of a vast range of new materials with exotic properties that were considered to be impossible before.

What is the focus of this course?

  • Applications of topology in condensed matter based on bulk-edge correspondence.
  • Special attention to the most active research topics in topological condensed matter: theory of topological insulators and Majorana fermions, topological classification of "grand ten" symmetry classes, and topological quantum computation
  • Extensions of topology to further areas of condensed matter, such as photonic and mechanical systems, topological quantum walks, topology in fractionalized systems, driven or dissipative systems.

What tools does this course use?

  • Simple thought experiments that rely on considerations of symmetry or continuity under adiabatic deformations
  • Computer simulations similar to those used in actual research will give a more detailed and visual understanding of the involved concepts
  • Dissecting research papers that teaches you to simply understand the idea even in the rather involved ones.

This course is a joint effort of Delft University of Technology, QuTech, NanoFront, University of Maryland, and Joint Quantum Institute.


What will you gain from this course?

  • Learn about the variety of subtopics in topological materials, their relation to each other and to the general principles.
  • Learn to follow active research on topology, and critically understand it on your own.
  • Acquire skills required to engage in research on your own, and to minimize confusion that often arises even among experienced researchers.

Other instructors:

Jay Sau
Assistant professor in theoretical Condensed matter physics, University of Maryland, College Park, USA

Bernard van Heck
Postdoc, Physics Department, Yale University.

Muhammad Irfan
PhD student, Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, TU Delft

Bas Nijholt
PhD student, TU Delft

Tómas Örn Rosdahl
PhD student, Kavli Institute for Nanoscience, TU Delft


The course materials of this course are Copyright Delft University of Technology and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) 4.0 International License.


This is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that runs on edX. General knowledge of condensed matter theory and quantum mechanics on at least an advanced bachelor level is recommended.

  • Starts: Future dates to be announced
  • Free
  • Length: Self-Paced
  • Effort: 3 - 6 hours per week / 12 weeks

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