Topological insulators are materials with very special properties. They conduct electricity or light particles on their surface or edges only but not on the inside. This unusual behaviour could eventually lead to technical innovations which is why topological insulators have been the subject of intense global research for several years.
Physicists of Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Bavaria, Germany, with colleagues from the Technion in Haifa, Israel, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore now report their discovery in the journal Nature. For the first time, the team has successfully built a topological insulator operating with both light and electronic excitations simultaneously, called an "exciton-polariton topological insulator."