A fractional corner anomaly reveals higher-order topology

Christopher W. Peterson, Tianhe Li, Wladimir A. Benalcazar, Taylor L. Hughes, Gaurav Bahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spectral measurements of boundary-localized topological modes are commonly used to identify topological insulators. For high-order insulators, these modes appear at boundaries of higher codimension, such as the corners of a two-dimensional material. Unfortunately, this spectroscopic approach is only viable if the energies of the topological modes lie within the bulk bandgap, which is not required for many topological crystalline insulators. The key topological feature in these insulators is instead fractional charge density arising from filled bulk bands, but measurements of such charge distributions have not been accessible to date. We experimentally measure boundary-localized fractional charge density in rotationally symmetric two-dimensional metamaterials and find one-fourth and one-third fractionalization. We then introduce a topological indicator that allows for the unambiguous identification of higher-order topology, even without in-gap states, and we demonstrate the associated higher-order bulk-boundary correspondence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1114-1118
Number of pages5
Issue number6495
StatePublished - Jun 5 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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