2016 Nobel Prize in Physics

We present this Collection of research, review and comment from Nature Research to celebrate the award of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics to David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz — who are recognized "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter". Once an abstract field of mathematics, topology has become a key ingredient in understanding a variety of phenomena in condensed matter physics.

Comment and Review


  • Nature Physics | Article

    First-principles calculations predict that Bi2Se3, Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3 are topological insulators—three-dimensional semiconductors with unusual surface states generated by spin–orbit coupling—whose surface states are described by a single gapless Dirac cone. The calculations further predict that Bi2Se3 has a non-trivial energy gap larger than the energy scale kBT at room temperature.

    • Haijun Zhang
    • , Chao-Xing Liu
    • , Xiao-Liang Qi
    • , Xi Dai
    • , Zhong Fang
    •  &  Shou-Cheng Zhang
  • Nature Communications | Article

    Three-dimensional Dirac semimetals are a recently discovered state of condensed matter considered as the 3D analogue of graphene. Here, Yang et al. propose a general framework to classify stable 3D Dirac semimetals in systems with time-reversal, inversion and uniaxial rotational symmetries.

    • Bohm-Jung Yang
    •  &  Naoto Nagaosa
  • Nature Physics | Letter

    When doped with copper, the topological insulator Bi2Se3 becomes superconducting. But for new physics and applications the search is not for just any superconductor; the material must retain its topological character. And indeed that is the case with doped Bi2Se3.

    • L. Andrew Wray
    • , Su-Yang Xu
    • , Yuqi Xia
    • , Yew San Hor
    • , Dong Qian
    • , Alexei V. Fedorov
    • , Hsin Lin
    • , Arun Bansil
    • , Robert J. Cava
    •  &  M. Zahid Hasan
  • Nature Physics | Article

    The mathematical connection between isostatic lattices—which are relevant for granular matter, glasses and other ‘soft’ systems—and topological quantum matter is as deep as it is unexpected.

    • C. L. Kane
    •  &  T. C. Lubensky