Berkeley Lab researchers discover 1-D conducting channels in bilayer graphene
To the list of potential applications of graphene - a two-dimensional semiconductor of pure carbon that is stronger and much faster than silicon - we can now add valleytronics, the coding of data in the wavelike motion of electrons as they speed through a conductor. Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered topologically protected one-dimensional electron conducting channels at the domain walls of bilayer graphene. These conducting channels are "valley polarized," which means they can serve as filters for electron valley polarization in future devices such as quantum computers.
"Combining near-field infrared nanometer-scale microscopy and low-temperature electrical transport measurements, we have recorded the first experimental observations of 1D ballistic electron conducting channels at bilayer graphene domain walls," says Feng Wang, a condensed matter physicist with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division, who led this work. "These 1D valley-polarized conducting channels featured a ballistic length of about 400 nanometers at 4 kelvin. Their existence opens up opportunities for exploring unique topological phases and valley physics in graphene."
Wang, who also holds an appointment with the University of California (UC) Berkeley Physics Department and is a member of the Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute (Kavli-ENSI), is the corresponding author of a paper describing this research in the journal Nature. The lead authors of the paper are Long Ju and Zhiwen Shi, members of Wang's research group. (See here for full list of authors.)
Valleytronics is generating a lot of excitement in the high-tech industry as a potential avenue to quantum computing. Like spintronics, valleytronics offers a tremendous advantage in data processing speeds over the electrical charge used in classical electronics.
"In valleytronics, electrons move through the lattice of a 2D semiconductor as a wave with two energy valleys, each valley being characterized by a distinct momentum and quantum valley number," Wang says. "This quantum valley number can be used to encode information when the electrons are in a minimum energy valley."
Recent theoretical work suggested that domain walls between AB- and BA-stacked bilayer graphene could provide an attractive place to realize one-dimensional electron conducting channels for valleytronics because the smoothness of the domain walls preserves electron valleys, unlike the atomic defects at graphene edges that result in valley-mixing. Until now, however, there has been no experimental evidence of these channels.
Working at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, Wang, Ju, Shi and their colleagues used tightly focused beams of infrared light to image in situ bilayer graphene layer-stacking domain walls on device substrates. Field effect devices fabricated over these domain walls revealed the 1D conducting channels.
In the bilayer graphene imaging work by Feng Wang and his group, IR light (yellow) is focused onto the apex of a metal-coated AFM tip and the backscattered infrared radiation is collected and measured.
"The infrared measurements were carried out at ALS beamline 5.4," says Shi. "The near-field infrared capabilities of this beamline enable optical spectroscopy with spatial resolutions that are way beyond the diffraction limit, allowing us to image the nanometer-wide domain walls in bilayer graphene."
Adds Ju, "That we were able to image the domain walls with a technique that is compatible with device fabrication was key to our work. With near-field IR spectroscopy, we could directly fabricate field effect devices over the domain walls and detect the 1D conducting channels."
To date, most valleytronics research has focused on the 2D semiconductors known as MX2 materials, which consist of a single layer of transition metal atoms, such as molybdenum or tungsten, sandwiched between two layers of chalcogen atoms, such as sulfur. The results of this study demonstrate that protected topological phases can also be realized in bilayer graphene, which is a tunable semiconductor, making the 2D carbon sheets useful for valleytronic applications.
"Our next step is to increase the ballistic length of these 1D channels so we can utilize them as electron valley filters, as well as for other manipulations of electron valleys in graphene," Wang says.
This research was primarily funded by the DOE Office of Science.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world's most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab's scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. For more, visit http://www.
Lynn Yarris | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > 2D > Advanced Light Source > Channeling > Electrons > Laboratory > Materials Sciences > classical electronics > electrical charge > energy > experimental > experimental observations > graphene > measurements > protecting human health > semiconductor > spectroscopy > valleytronics
Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells
01.12.2016 | University of California - Riverside
New process produces hydrogen at much lower temperature
01.12.2016 | Waseda University
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy