Hidden Properties of Solids

This artist’s rendition features Berry curvature represented by the twisting ribbons at the top.

This artist’s rendition features Berry curvature represented by the twisting ribbons at the top.

March 12, 2018 | Source: The UC Santa Barbara Current, news.ucsb.edu, 21 Nov 2017, Julie Cohen

Physicists open the door to the first direct measurement of Berry curvature in solid matter.


Berry curvature may not be the most well-known scientific concept, but to many physicists, its direct measurement is something akin to a holy grail.

A powerful unifying principle in several branches of classical and quantum physics, Berry curvature is a strange and elusive quantum mechanical property of solids. It governs the dynamics of the motion of charges in semiconductors yet itself cannot be directly measured.

If it could be, the resulting calculation could lead to new materials for quantum computing.

Now, UC Santa Barbara physicists have opened the door to the first direct measurement of Berry curvature in solid matter.

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