“Quantum Composites” for Electrical and Optical innovations

“Quantum Composites” for Electrical and Optical innovations

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

The research may result in wide-ranging advancements in electrical, optical, and computer technologies

The Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering research group, led by distinguished professor Alexander Balandin, has shown in the laboratory the unique and practical function of newly created materials, which they called quantum composites.

These composites consist of small crystals of called “charge density wave quantum materials” incorporated within a polymer (large molecules with repeating structures) matrix. Upon heating or light exposure, charge density wave material undergoes a phase transition that leads to an unusual electrical response of the composites.

Compared to other materials that reveal quantum phenomena, the quantum composites created by Balandin’s group exhibited functionality at a much wider range of temperatures and had a greatly increased ability to store electricity, giving them an excellent potential for utility. The term quantum refers to materials and devices where electrons behave more like waves than particles. The wave nature of electrons can give materials unusual properties that are used in a new generation of computer, electronic and optic technologies.

The researchers also found that quantum composites have an unusually high dielectric constant – a metric that characterizes the material’s ability to store electricity. The dielectric constant of the electrically insulating composites increased by more than two orders of magnitude, which allows for smaller and more powerful capacitors used for energy storage.

More about this research at

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