Topological electronic materials, such as topological insulators, are distinct from trivial materials in the topology of their electronic band structures that lead to robust, unconventional topological states, which could bring revolutionary developments in electronics. This Perspective summarizes developments of topological insulators in various electronic applications including spintronics and magnetoelectronics. We group and analyse several important phenomena in spintronics using topological insulators, including spin–orbit torque, the magnetic proximity effect, interplay between antiferromagnetism and topology, and the formation of topological spin textures. We also outline recent developments in magnetoelectronics such as the axion insulator and the topological magnetoelectric effect observed using different topological insulators.
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Q.L.H. acknowledges support from the National Key R&D Program of China (grant no. 2020YFA0308900 and no. 2018YFA0305601), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 11874070) and the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. XDB28000000). Y.T. acknowledges support from JST CREST (no. JPMJCR16F1). K.L.W. acknowledges the support of the US National Science Foundation (ECCS 1611570), the ARO Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program under W911NF-16-1-047, the Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), Basic Energy Sciences (BES), under award no. DE-SC0012670, and the Raytheon Endowed Chair. T.L.H., N.P.A. and K.L.W. acknowledge support from the ARO MURI on ‘Axion Electrodynamics beyond Maxwell’s Equations’.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Materials thanks Prineha Narang and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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He, Q.L., Hughes, T.L., Armitage, N.P. et al. Topological spintronics and magnetoelectronics. Nat. Mater. 21, 15–23 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-021-01138-5
Nature Materials (2022)