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Graphene exhibits bizarre new behavior well suited to electronic devices
Date:7/29/2010

very quantization that Crommie's research group has experimentally observed. Boston University physicist Antonio Castro Neto, who was visiting Crommie's laboratory at the time of the discovery, immediately recognized the implications of the data, and subsequent experiments confirmed that it reflected the pseudo quantum Hall effect predicted earlier.

"Theorists often latch onto an idea and explore it theoretically even before the experiments are done, and sometimes they come up with predictions that seem a little crazy at first. What is so exciting now is that we have data that shows these ideas are not so crazy," Crommie said. "The observation of these giant pseudomagnetic fields opens the door to room-temperature 'straintronics,' the idea of using mechanical deformations in graphene to engineer its behavior for different electronic device applications."

Crommie noted that the "pseudomagnetic fields" inside the nanobubbles are so high that the energy levels are separated by hundreds of millivolts, much higher than room temperature. Thus, thermal noise would not interfere with this effect in graphene even at room temperature. The nanobubble experiments performed in Crommie's laboratory, however, were performed at very low temperature.

Normally, electrons moving in a magnetic field circle around the field lines. Within the strained nanobubbles, the electrons move in circles in the plane of the graphene sheet, as if a strong magnetic field has been applied perpendicular to the sheet even when there is no actual magnetic field. Apparently, Crommie said, the pseudomagnetic field only affects moving electrons and not other properties of the electron, such as spin, that are affected by real magnetic fields.


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Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert  

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