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Journal Article

Higher-order topological insulators in amorphous solids


Agarwala,  Adhip
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;


Roy,  Bitan
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Agarwala, A., Juricic, V., & Roy, B. (2020). Higher-order topological insulators in amorphous solids. Physical Review Research, 2(1): 012067. doi:10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.012067.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-2E49-3
We identify the possibility of realizing higher order topological (HOT) phases in noncrystalline or amorphous materials. Starting from two- and three-dimensional crystalline HOT insulators, accommodating topological corner states, we gradually enhance structural randomness in the system. Within a parameter regime, as long as amorphousness is confined by an outer crystalline boundary, the system continues to host corner states, yielding amorphous HOT insulators. However, as structural disorder percolates to the edges, corner states start to dissolve into amorphous bulk, and ultimately the system becomes a trivial insulator when amorphousness plagues the entire system. These outcomes are further substantiated by computing the quadrupolar (octupolar) moment in two (three) dimensions. Therefore, HOT phases can be realized in amorphous solids, when wrapped by a thin (lithographically grown, for example) crystalline layer. Our findings suggest that crystalline topological phases can be realized even in the absence of local crystalline symmetry.