Resistance-free electron channels

Resistance-free electron channels

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

An international research team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has taken the first atomic-resolution images and demonstrated electrical control of a chiral interface state

The chiral interface state is a conducting channel that allows electrons to travel in only one direction, preventing them from being scattered backward and causing energy-wasting electrical resistance. Researchers are working to understand better the properties of chiral interface states in real materials, but visualizing their spatial characteristics has proved to be exceptionally difficult.

But now, for the first time, atomic-resolution images captured by a research team at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have directly visualized a chiral interface state. The researchers also demonstrated the on-demand creation of these resistance-free conducting channels in a 2D insulator.

Their work, which was reported in the journal Nature Physics, is part of Berkeley Lab’s broader push to advance quantumcomputing and other quantum information system applications, including the design and synthesis of quantum materials to address pressing technological needs.

“Previous experiments have demonstrated that chiral interface states exist, but no one has ever visualized them with such high resolution. Our work shows for the first time what these 1D states look like at the atomic scale, including how we can alter them—and even create them,” said first author Canxun Zhang, a former graduate student researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and the Department of Physics at UC Berkeley. He is now a postdoctoral researcher at UC Santa Barbara.

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