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In this PhD thesis, the fingerprints of geometry and topology on low dimensional mesoscopic systems are investigated. In particular, holographic non-equilibrium transport properties of the quantum spin Hall phase, a two dimensional time reversal symmetric bulk insulating phase featuring one dimensional gapless helical edge modes are studied. In these metallic helical edge states, the spin and the direction of motion of the charge carriers are locked to each other and counter-propagating states at the same energy are conjugated by time reversal symmetry. This phenomenology entails a so called topological protection against elastic single particle backscattering by time reversal symmetry. We investigate the limitations of this topological protection by studying the influence of inelastic processes as induced by the interplay of phonons and extrinsic spin orbit interaction and by taking into account multi electron processes due to electron-electron interaction, respectively. Furthermore, we propose possible spintronics applications that rely on a spin charge duality that is uniquely associated with the quantum spin Hall phase. This duality is present in the composite system of two helical edge states with opposite helicity as realized on the two opposite edges of a quantum spin Hall sample with ribbon geometry. More conceptually speaking, the quantum spin Hall phase is the first experimentally realized example of a symmetry protected topological state of matter, a non-interacting insulating band structure which preserves an anti-unitary symmetry and is topologically distinct from a trivial insulator in the same symmetry class with totally localized and hence independent atomic orbitals. In the first part of this thesis, the reader is provided with a fairly self-contained introduction into the theoretical concepts underlying the timely research field of topological states of matter. In this context, the topological invariants characterizing these novel states are viewed as global analogues of the geometric phase associated with a cyclic adiabatic evolution. Whereas the detailed discussion of the topological invariants is necessary to gain deeper insight into the nature of the quantum spin Hall effect and related physical phenomena, the non-Abelian version of the local geometric phase is employed in a proposal for holonomic quantum computing with spin qubits in quantum dots.

We represent the Z2 topological invariant characterizing a one-dimensional topological superconductor using a Wess–Zumino–Witten dimensional extension. The invariant is formulated in terms of the single-particle Green’s function which allows us to classify interacting systems. Employing a recently proposed generalized Berry curvature method, the topological invariant is represented independent of the extra dimension requiring only the single-particle Green’s function at zero frequency of the interacting system. Furthermore, a modified twisted boundary conditions approach is used to rigorously define the topological invariant for disordered interacting systems.