Lab tests have confirmed theoretical predictions about the shear and strain that single sheets of graphene can withstand, bringing industrial and commercial applications of the material a step closer.The two-dimensional, hexagonal lattice of carbon has piqued the interest of display and solar cell manufacturers because of its transparency and high conductivity.
Qubits and Pieces
News from the frontline of the weird and wonderful world of quantum computing. From the theoretical musings of solid state physicists to breakthroughs you might actually see in a data centre in your lifetime, we'll be keeping an eye on stuff that matters in materials science, including graphene, condensed matter, diamonds and so on. And last, but by no mean least, we'll be tracking the spin on spintronics. Just don't mention room temperature.
Lucy Sherriff is a journalist, science geek and general liker of all things techie and clever. In a previous life she put her physics degree to moderately good use by writing about science for that other tech website, The Register. After a bit of a break, it seemed like a good time to start blogging about weird quantum stuff for ZDNet. And so here we are.
Under the watchful eye of Dr Karl Coleman who won the 2011 Royal Society of Chemistry's 'Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year', Durham University is spinning out a company to develop the technology for mass production of our favourite two-dimensional material; graphene.The company is betting on its so-called "bottom-up" chemical vapour deposition manufacturing process.
The Manchester University team that first isolated graphene has discovered a way of introducing a band gap into the material that makes it a much more promising candidate for building transistors.Graphene is famous for its astonishing list of useful characteristics – especially its conductivity.
Theoretical physicists working at Harvard and the Joint Quantum Institute in the US have joined forces with their Danish colleagues at the Niels Bohr Institute, to design a nanoscale loud speaker that could help make MRI scanners smaller, and might one day find a use in a future quantum computer.The 'speaker' they have conceived still needs to be tested experimentally.
Graphene might be stealing all the headlines, but other forms of carbon are still making waves in the emerging field of spintronics.So says researcher Michel de Jong, based at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.
Australian scientists have fabricated a silicon wire just four atoms wide. Although it is a mere 10,000th the size of a human hair, it conducts electricity as well as copper, the researchers say.
Researchers at Manchester University – spiritual home of graphene – have now discovered how to magnetise the wonder-material. Yes, you read that right: they have magnetised carbon.
Researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University have built a CMOS compatible graphene based electronic mixer – a device that combines multiple input signals into one or two composite outputs – that already works at microwave frequencies and could be extended to the terahertz range.Jan Stake, professor of the research team says that the performance of the mixer can be improved by further optimising the circuit, and improving the on-off ratio.
A collaborative project between Singapore and UK researchers has revealed another useful property of graphene; it can offer protection from laser pulses.Scientists at the National University of Singapore, DSO Laboratories and the University of Cambridge were investigating ways of blocking graphene’s natural tendency to stack and form the more familiar graphite – that’s pencil lead to you and me.
This news isn’t going to rock your desktop world any time soon, but it could reveal yet more exotic states of matter that might one day play a part in a quantum computer. Apart from that, it is also very, very cool.