A team of researchers from Columbia Engineering, the Italian National Research Council, Princeton University, University of Missouri, and University of Nijmegen (Netherlands) has developed an artificial semiconductor structure that has superimposed a pattern created by advanced fabrication methods that are precise at the nanometer scale. The pattern is similar to the honeycomb lattice that occurs in graphene. The device, called "artificial graphene" (AG), simulates quantum behavior of strongly interacting electrons. The research team sees the AG-device as a first step towards the realization of an innovative class of solid-state quantum simulators to explore fundamental quantum physics.
The research is reported in the June 3rd, 2011, issue of Science (http://www.sciencemag.org.ezproxy.cul.columbia.edu/content/332/6034/1176.full.pdf). The work is co-authored by Vittorio Pellegrini and Marco Polini of the NEST Laboratory of Istituto Nanoscienze-Cnr and Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa; and by Aron Pinczuk, Applied Physics Professor at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and Physics Professor at the School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University; along with researchers from the Universities of Nijmegen, Missouri, and Princeton.
In order to study quantum phenomena that are difficult to be directly observed, scientists use artificial ad-hoc designed systems quantum simulators that can be controlled and manipulated in the laboratory. Researchers have only just begun to develop quantum simulators using different technologies. The AG-device is the first quantum simulator to be based on a semiconductor material that is designed with the goal of uncovering quantum behavior of electrons.
Phenomena such as high-temperature superconductivity, ferromagnetism, and exotic states of matter such as quantum Hall liquids and spin liqu
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