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Engraving Wires in Topological Insulators

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 03:27PM

Topological insulators are a curious family of materials, as they are capable of conducting electrical currents on their surface, but highly resistant through their bulk. By exploiting their properties, many new technologies could be developed involving spintronics and quantum computing. Now researchers at TU Dresden have discovered how to engrave wires into TIs.

Currents on a TI follow very small channels in the surface, and in the case of Bismuth-Rhodium-Iodine, these channels are connected to one dimensional steps at the edges of atomic layers. The physics of TIs keep electrons flowing along these channels from jumping to others, which is why there is so little resistance to these currents. What the Dresden researchers have done is engrave new channels into a TI, effectively etching wires into the surface. This discovery will help us understand the exact physics behind topological insulators, which is necessary for using them in future technologies.

Source: Technische Universität Dresden

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