In recent years, physicists worldwide have been conducting studies exploring the characteristics and dynamics of topological phases of matter that could enable the development of quantum devices and other new technologies. Some of these phases are supported by what is known as the time-reversal symmetry (TRS) of microscopic laws of nature.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have recently demonstrated that some protected by TRS are fundamentally unstable against coupling to their surrounding environment. Their findings, outlined in a paper published in Nature Physics, highlight a number of challenges that could be associated with the use of topological systems for developing quantum technologies.

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