Jun 29, 2020

Team develops method for trapping elusive electrons

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, quantum physics

Graphene’s unique 2-D structure means that electrons travel through it differently than in most other materials. One consequence of this unique transport is that applying a voltage doesn’t stop the electrons like it does in most other materials. This is a problem, because to make useful applications out of graphene and its unique electrons, such as quantum computers, it is necessary to be able to stop and control graphene electrons.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain), Université Grenoble Alpes (France), International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (Portugal) and Aalto University has solved this long-standing problem. The team included experimental researchers Eva Cortés del Río, Pierre Mallet, Héctor González‐Herrero, José María Gómez‐Rodríguez, Jean‐Yves Veuillen and Iván Brihuega and theorists including Joaquín Fernández-Rossier and Jose Lado, assistant professor in the department of Applied Physics at Aalto.

The experimental team used atomic bricks to build walls capable of stopping the electrons. This was achieved by creating atomic walls that confined the electrons, leading to structures whose spectrum was then compared with theoretical predictions, demonstrating that electrons were confined. In particular, it was obtained that the engineered structures gave rise to nearly perfect confinement of electrons, as demonstrated from the emergence of sharp quantum well resonances with a remarkably long lifetime.

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