Researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the states have shone a light on yet more weirdness in graphene.
This time, the appearance of infinitely massive (!) quasi-particles has been documented in tri-layer graphene (that is three sheets of graphene stacked on top of one another, each offset from the next).
According to a report on the John Hopkins University website, the scientists were investigating the magento-resistance of the tri-layer material when they noticed that the landau quantisation levels were "atypical".
Landau quantisation refers to the discrete energy levels of cyclotron orbits of charged particles in a magnetic field. The number of electrons in each energy band is directly proportional to the strength of the applied magnetic field.
The researchers explain that the unusual results can be explained by the presence of quasi-particles, that is interactions between electrons that can be treated as particles.
Too much weird for you? Try this. According to the report: "The quasi-particles found in graphene are fermions, such as protons or electrons. In monolayer graphene, the quasi-particles are massless; in bilayer graphene they are massive, but in ABC tri-layer graphene the quasi-particles' masses depend on their energies. When the energy is very low and the particles are at rest, the mass of the quasi-particles goes to infinity."
Yes, infinity. But stay with us, even as your mind explodes.
The report concludes that the result of all of this is that a better understanding of the resistive variability of tri-layer graphene, and its odd-ball quasi-particles could make it “an even more powerful conductor”.
The work is published in Nature, Physics. Subscribers can read the whole thing here, while the rest of us will have to make do with the abstract.