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Carbon copy the future of physics

More exciting news from the increasingly carboniferous world of solid state physics. A paper from two researchers, Yakov Kopelevich in San Paulo and Pablo Esquinaz in Leipzig, reports that good old fashioned graphite has a whole bunch of exciting electronic properties and that this, rather than the currently fashionable single-atomic-sheet graphene, may well prove to be the most worthwhile substance to investigate for spintronics and other new ideas.
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Written by Rupert Goodwins on

More exciting news from the increasingly carboniferous world of solid state physics. A paper from two researchers, Yakov Kopelevich in San Paulo and Pablo Esquinaz in Leipzig, reports that good old fashioned graphite has a whole bunch of exciting electronic properties and that this, rather than the currently fashionable single-atomic-sheet graphene, may well prove to be the most worthwhile substance to investigate for spintronics and other new ideas. These include a fascinating array of exotic particle interactions, caused by the most peculiar way that electrons move through the carbon lattice. If your boat gets floated by quantum oscillations showing Dirac fermions, I don't understand the half of it.

But I have a chance of learning, thanks to the paper being published (warning - PDF) not in a paid-for journal but on arXiv.org, the open repository for e-prints of papers in computing, physics, maths and related areas. If you haven't come across this yet, the Wikipedia entry covers the bases; it's a huge, non peer-reviewed store of papers, some of which go on to be reviewed and printed in traditional journals. I got wind of this particular paper courtesy of the rather idiosyncratic ArXiv blog, which is always worth keeping an eye on.

There are reasons why everyone doesn't put their papers in open access systems like this, most significantly that when funding bodies are totting up scores for departments, they normally give many more points for papers in peer-reviewed traditional journals - and fewer people are prepared to cite non-reviewed or pre-print papers, which also affects academic ranking. But with some journals at least happy to let pre-prints exist alongside their final copies, there are ways around that - and plenty of scope for more movement towards open access journals.

Meanwhile, get stuck into those Dirac fermions while they're fresh.

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