Bilayer Graphene Works as an Insulator

Research by UC Riverside-led team has potential applications in digital and infrared technologies

Story content courtesy of University of California-Riverside News Room, US

A research team led by physicists at the University of California, Riverside has identified a property of "bilayer graphene" (BLG) that the researchers say is analogous to finding the Higgs boson in particle physics.

BLG is formed when two graphene sheets are stacked in a special manner. The high current-carrying capacity results from the extremely high velocities that electrons can acquire in a graphene sheet.

The physicists report that in investigating BLG's properties they found that when the number of electrons on the BLG sheet is close to 0, the material becomes insulating

"BLG becomes insulating because its electrons spontaneously organize themselves when their number is small," said Chun Ning (Jeanie) Lau, an associate professor of physics and astronomy, and the lead author of the research paper. "Instead of moving around randomly, the electrons move in an orderly fashion."

The research team's findings have implications for the use of graphene as an electronic material in the semiconductor and electronics industries.

The research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, FENA Focus Center, and other agencies.

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