The researchers who unveiled graphene in 2004 and who were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010 for "groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material" have led new research that reveals more about the electronic properties of the wonder material. The team says their findings promise to accelerate research looking at ways to build graphene-based devices such as touch-screens, ultrafast transistors and photodetectors, and will potentially open up countless more electronic opportunities.
In studying the effect of interactions between electrons on the electronic properties of graphene, the researchers from the universities of Manchester, Madrid and Moscow, led by Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov, found that such interactions significantly enhance the already high velocity of electrons in graphene. They say the reason for such unique electronic properties is that electrons in graphene mimic massless relativistic particles, such as photons or neutrinos.
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The team used extremely high-quality graphene devices, which were prepared by suspending sheets of graphene in a vacuum. This allowed them to eliminate most of the unwanted electron scattering mechanisms for electrons in the material, thus enhancing the effect of electron-on-electron interaction. They claim this is the first effect of its kind where the interactions between electrons in graphene could be clearly seen.
"Although the exciting physics which we have found in this particular experiment may have an immediate implementation in practical electronic devices, the further understanding of the electronic properties of this material will bring us a step closer to the development of graphene electronics," said Professor Novoselov.
The research team's findings appear in the journal Nature Physics.