“It’s a bit like driving past a vineyard and looking out the window at the vineyard rows. Every now and then, you see no rows because you’re looking directly along a row,” said Nathaniel Gabor, an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside. “This is akin to what happens when two atomic layers are stacked on top of each other. At certain angles of twist, everything is energetically allowed. It adds up just right to allow for interesting possibilities of energy transfer.”
This is the future of new materials being synthesized by twisting and stacking atomically thin layers, and is still in the “alchemy” stage, Gabor added. To bring it all under one roof, he and physicist Justin C. W. Song of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, have proposed this field of research be called “electron quantum metamaterials” and have just published a perspective article in Nature Nanotechnology.
“We highlight the potential of engineering synthetic periodic arrays with feature sizes below the wavelength of an electron. Such engineering allows the electrons to be manipulated in unusual ways, resulting in a new range of synthetic quantum metamaterials with unconventional responses,” Gabor said.
Metamaterials are a class of material engineered to produce properties that do not occur naturally. Examples include optical cloaking devices and super-lenses akin to the Fresnel lens that lighthouses use. Nature, too, has adopted such techniques – for example, in the unique coloring of butterfly wings – to manipulate photons as they move through nanoscale structures.
“Unlike photons that scarcely interact with each other, however, electrons in subwavelength structured metamaterials are charged, and they strongly interact,” Gabor said. “The result is an enormous variety of emergent phenomena and radically new classes of interacting quantum metamaterials.”
Gabor and Song were invited by Nature Nanotechnology to write a review paper. But the pair chose to delve deeper and lay out the fundamental physics that may explain much of the research in electron quantum metamaterials. They wrote a perspective paper instead that envisions the current status of the field and discusses its future.
Image Credit: CIFAR
News This Week
A pea-sized device used to seal tiny but potentially deadly holes in the hearts of premature infants has been approved by U.S. regulators, making it one of the smallest complex medical devices ever invented [...]
Scientists have discovered that squamous cell skin cancers do not require increased glucose to power their development and growth, contrary to a long-held belief about cancer metabolism. The findings could bring about a better [...]
Nanotechnology may well be one of the most talked about industries of the last few years. Predicted to value US$173.95 billion globally by 2025, this fast-moving sector is already delivering major sustainability, health and well-being benefits to society. [...]
Catalysts are chemical matchmakers: They bring other chemicals close together, increasing the chance that they’ll react with each other and produce something people want, like fuel or fertilizer. Since some of the best catalyst [...]
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers used an ingenious experimental setup and high-energy X-ray beams to observe a high-temperature, high-pressure chemical reaction to establish how the formation of two varied nanoscale crystalline structures in the [...]
When people are in the early stages of an undiagnosed disease, immediate tests that lead to treatment are the best first steps. But a blood draw—usually performed by a medical professional armed with an [...]
A team of neuroscientists and engineers has developed a tiny, implantable device that has potential to help people with bladder problems bypass the need for medication or electronic stimulators. The team -- from Washington [...]
Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions now available to rent on Kindle
To accommodate students who wish to read the book at an affordable cost, Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions by Frank Boehm (CEO NanoApps Medical Inc.) is available to rent on Kindle. This book benefits [...]
Graphene-based implant overcomes technical limitation to record brain activity at extremely low frequencies
The body of knowledge about the human brain is growing exponentially, but questions big and small remain unanswered. Researchers have been using electrode arrays to record the brain’s electrical activity for decades, mapping activity [...]
Note: This videoblog is in German. It was produced by the Institute of Art & Art Theory of the University of Cologne. Humanity faces epochal challenges in the age of digitization. In particular, [...]
NanoApps Medical is investigating the possibility that superparamagnetic nanoparticles (SPIONs) (Figure 1) and other classes of nanoparticles (e.g., gold coated nanoshells) (Figure 2) might have the capacity to target cancerous tumors, metastasizing cancer cells, [...]
Flexible, wireless electronic devices are rapidly emerging and have reached the level of commercialization; nevertheless, most of battery shapes are limited to either spherical and/or rectangular structures, which results in inefficient space use. Professor [...]