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
Barely scratching the surface: A new way to make robust membranes
13.12.2018 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Topological material switched off and on for the first time
11.12.2018 | ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy