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Natural 3D Counterpart to Graphene Discovered

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Beamline 10.0.1 at Berkeley Labs Advanced Light Source is optimized for the study of electron structures and correlated electron systems.

Researchers have discovered that sodium bismuthate can exist as a form of quantum matter.

Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have discovered that sodium bismuthate can exist as a form of quantum matter called a three-dimensional topological Dirac semi-metal (3DTDS).

"Because of its 3D Dirac fermions in the bulk, a 3DTDS also features intriguing non-saturating linear magnetoresistance that can be orders of magnitude higher than the materials now used in hard drives, and it opens the door to more efficient optical sensors," says former Berkeley Lab researcher Yulin Chen.

The discovery was made using beamline 10.0.1, which is optimized for electron structure studies. The researchers first developed a special procedure to synthesize and transport the sodium bismuthate. "ALS beamline 10.0.1 is perfect for exploring new materials, as it has a unique capability whereby the analyzer is moved rather than the sample for the ARPES measurement scans," Chen says.

Although sodium bismuthate is too unstable to be used in devices without proper packaging, it facilitates the exploration for the development of other 3DTDS materials more suitable for everyday devices. "A 3DTDS system could provide a significant improvement in efficiency in many applications over graphene because of its 3D volume," Chen notes.

From Berkeley Lab News Center
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