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Tying Electrons Down With Nanoribbons

Scanning tunneling microscope image of a topological nanoribbon superlattice.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley used graphene nanoribbons to capture electrons for potential quantum computing applications.

Credit: Berkeley News

University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) researchers have used graphene nanoribbons to corral electrons for potential quantum computing applications.

The nanoribbons, scaled at about 5 nanometers wide, exhibit unique quantum properties that could make then a potential alternative to silicon chips.

UC Berkeley's Felix Fischer and Michael Crommie have experimentally demonstrated that junctions of nanoribbons are occupied by individual localized electrons when their topology is suitable. This proves UC Berkeley's Steven Louie's theory that joining two different types of nanoribbons has this electron-trapping effect, and depending on the strips' distance between each other, the hybrid nanoribbon is either metallic, a semiconductor, or a chain of quantum bits.

Fischer says, "This provides us with a completely new system that alleviates some of the problems expected for future quantum computers, such as how to easily mass-produce highly precise quantum dots with engineered entanglement that can be incorporated into electronic devices in a straightforward way."

From Berkeley News
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