Recent research conducted by scientists from Vienna University of Technology and Budapest University of Technology and Economics has shed light on a groundbreaking discovery – the imperfection of graphene does not hinder its usability in the realm of quantum information technology and quantum sensing. In fact, their findings have unveiled that even flawed pieces of graphene can be effectively employed for various technological applications.
Graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, possesses unique electronic properties that make it an ideal candidate for quantum technology. However, until now, doubts loomed over the stability of these properties. The research team sought to address these concerns by developing a comprehensive computer model that emulated realistic graphene structures, enabling them to examine the impact of disturbances and additional effects on its stability.
Contrary to expectations, the scientists discovered that the desired effects remained remarkably stable, even within imperfect graphene structures. Professor Florian Libisch from the Institute of Theoretical Physics at TU Wien explains, “We calculate on an atomic scale how electric current propagates in a tiny piece of graphene. According to the rules of quantum physics, the electron can take several paths simultaneously rather than being confined to a single trajectory.”
These multiple paths can overlap in various ways. At specific energy values, the paths undergo destructive interference, resulting in a diminished probability of electron transmission and minimal electric current. This phenomenon holds significant promise in the realm of technology. Professor Libisch elaborates, “This highly desirable effect can be utilized to process information on a minuscule scale, akin to the function of electronic components in computer chips.”
Moreover, this discovery also paves the way for the development of cutting-edge quantum sensors. In certain circumstances, when a graphene piece exhibits virtually no current, the attachment of an external molecule to its surface can lead to a substantial increase in current flow. Dr. Robert Stadler highlights the potential of this outcome, stating, “This could be used to create extremely sensitive sensors.”
However, the intricate nature of the physical effects involved in these processes adds complexity to the research. Dr. Angelo Valli explains, “The size and shape of the graphene piece can vary, and the interactions between multiple electrons are mathematically challenging to calculate. Additionally, the presence of unwanted atoms and atomic vibrations must be considered to accurately describe graphene.”
The research team, comprised of Angelo Valli, Robert Stadler, Thomas Fabian, and Florian Libisch, tackled these challenges head-on. With their collective expertise and years of experience in computer modeling, they successfully developed a comprehensive model that accounts for all relevant error sources and perturbations present in graphene. Importantly, their findings confirmed that the desired effects persist even in the presence of these imperfections.
This pivotal discovery showcases that perfect graphene is not a prerequisite for its use in quantum information technology and quantum sensing. The implications of this finding for applied research in these fields are profound, as it contributes to the worldwide efforts aimed at harnessing the quantum effects of graphene in a controlled manner.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What is graphene?
A: Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, possessing exceptional electronic properties.
Q: Why is graphene significant in the field of quantum technology?
A: Graphene’s unique electronic properties make it an ideal candidate for quantum information technology and quantum sensing.
Q: Can imperfect graphene be used for technological applications?
A: Yes, the recent research findings indicate that imperfect graphene can still be effectively employed in various technological applications.
Q: How can destructive interference in graphene be utilized?
A: Destructive interference can be employed to process information on a minuscule scale, similar to electronic components in computer chips.
Q: What are the implications of this discovery?
A: This discovery opens up new possibilities for utilizing the quantum effects of graphene in a controlled manner, advancing research in quantum information technology and quantum sensing.