Symmetry-based Indicators of Band Topology in the 230 Space Groups

Nat Commun. 2017 Jun 30;8(1):50. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00133-2.


The interplay between symmetry and topology leads to a rich variety of electronic topological phases, protecting states such as the topological insulators and Dirac semimetals. Previous results, like the Fu-Kane parity criterion for inversion-symmetric topological insulators, demonstrate that symmetry labels can sometimes unambiguously indicate underlying band topology. Here we develop a systematic approach to expose all such symmetry-based indicators of band topology in all the 230 space groups. This is achieved by first developing an efficient way to represent band structures in terms of elementary basis states, and then isolating the topological ones by removing the subset of atomic insulators, defined by the existence of localized symmetric Wannier functions. Aside from encompassing all earlier results on such indicators, including in particular the notion of filling-enforced quantum band insulators, our theory identifies symmetry settings with previously hidden forms of band topology, and can be applied to the search for topological materials.Understanding the role of topology in determining electronic structure can lead to the discovery, or appreciation, of materials with exotic properties such as protected surface states. Here, the authors present a framework for identifying topologically distinct band-structures for all 3D space groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Electrons*