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Topological insulators conduct electricity in a special way and hold the promise of novel circuits and faster mobile communications. Under the leadership of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), a research team from Germany, Spain and Russia questioned a fundamental property of this new class of materials: How exactly do the electrons in the material respond when they are "startled" by short pulses of so-called terahertz radiation? The results could herald faster mobile data communications or high-sensitivity detector systems for exploring distant worlds in years to come, the team reports in npj Quantum Materials.

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