A slippery path to quantum materials and devices

Javier Sanchez-Yamagishi
Thursday, December 7, 2023
3:30 pm
ISEB 1010


Like a deck of cards, van der Waals materials are made of stacked layers that can slip and slide. At the same time, electrons confined in the two-dimensional layers exhibit fascinating quantum behaviors. I will discuss how the slippery and flat mechanics of vdW materials can open new paths in the study and control of electrons. As a first example, I will show how slippery vdW materials enable us to create mechanically-reconfigurable quantum devices. Typically, microscopic electronics, such as those in your phone, are static with all the parts frozen in place by friction. What if they could move and morph on the fly? As a second example, I will show how the flat and slippery van der Waal materials make for exceptional dumpling wrappers that mold any filling put inside. By stuffing bismuth between vdW layers, we are able to grow extremely flat and thin bismuth crystals with exceptional electronic properties. These crystals enable us to unlock the electronic properties of bismuth’s surfaces and edges, which behave very differently than the insides of a bismuth crystal.

Daniel Whiteson