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Topological insulators and geometry of vector bundles

Alexander S. Sergeev

SciPost Phys. Lect. Notes 67 (2023) · published 12 April 2023


For a long time, band theory of solids has focused on the energy spectrum, or Hamiltonian eigenvalues. Recently, it was realized that the collection of eigenvectors also contains important physical information. The local geometry of eigenspaces determines the electric polarization, while their global twisting gives rise to the metallic surface states in topological insulators. These phenomena are central topics of the present notes. The shape of eigenspaces is also responsible for many intriguing physical analogies, which have their roots in the theory of vector bundles. We give an informal introduction to the geometry and topology of vector bundles and describe various physical models from this mathematical perspective.

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