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Theoretical physics unveils one of the most ubiquitous and elusive concepts in chemistry

01 July 2019
A new SISSA study published in Nature Physics

Even if we study them at school, oxidation numbers have so far eluded any rigorous quantum mechanical definition. A new SISSA study, published in Nature Physics, reverses this state of affairs by providing such a definition, based on the theory of topological quantum numbers, which was honoured with the 2016 Nobel prize in Physics awarded to Thouless, Haldane and Kosterlitz. This result, combined with recent advances in the theory of transport achieved at SISSA, paves the way to an accurate, yet tractable, numerical simulation of a broad class of materials that are important in energy-related technologies and planetary sciences.

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