An international team of scientists led by the University of Minnesota has conducted new research into two-dimensional (2D) materials, a class of nanomaterials that are only a few atoms in thickness.
Electrons in these materials are free to move in the 2D plane, but their restricted motion in the third direction is governed by quantum mechanics.
The researchers examined the optical properties of several dozen 2D materials, and they found polaritons could be used to marry the speed of photon light particles and the small size of electrons. The researchers say this could lead to devices that are faster, smaller, and more efficient.
By exciting the polaritons in 2D materials, electromagnetic energy can be focused down to a volume 1 million times smaller compared to when it propagates in free space.
"Layered two-dimensional materials have emerged as a fantastic toolbox for nano-photonics and nano-optoelectronics, providing tailored design and tunability for properties that are not possible to realize with conventional materials," says Frank Koppens, group leader at Spain's Institute of Photonic Sciences. "This will offer tremendous opportunities for applications."
From University of Minnesota News
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