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Novel transistor exhibits quantum spin Hall effect

Posted: 24 Feb 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MIT? quantum spin Hall effect? transistor? TFET? transition metal dichalcogenide?

Along with Qian, the science team consisted of researchers Ju Li, Liang Fu, Xiaofeng Qian and Junwei Liu, experts in topological phases of matter and 2D materials, at MIT. Plus supercomputer experts at TACC who help confirm their results by running the Vienna Ab initio Simulation Package on their Stampede and Lonestar supercomputers. The supercomputers were made available to the MIT team under the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

2D topological insulators

2D topological insulators conduct only at their edges when cast as monolayers. There's a black gap between the purple blobs at the bottom and top. The crisscrossing reddish lines that bridge the gap. The lines indicate the edge state of the material, allowing electrons to cross the gap and conduct electricity. (Credit: Qian et. al.) (Source: Texas A&M University)

Next, Qian and colleagues want to hunt for new materials that exhibit the same or similar characteristics operating at room temperature. He is also handing off his theoretical work to several experimental labs which will build the new TFET in the lab. By combining the TFET with superconductors, Qian hopes experimentalists will achieve the Majorana fermion zero mode, the holy grail of topological quantum computing.

Quantum transistor

Artist's rendering of quantum transistor, consisting of 2D material "sandwiched" between boron nitride (gray). When an electric field is applied to the rectangular "gates" at top, it switches the quantum state of the middle layer (yellow) on and off. The boundaries of these "switched" regions act as perfect quantum wires, potentially leading to new electronic devices with low losses. (Credit: Yan Lian, MIT.) (Source: Texas A&M University)

"There is so much opportunity in 2D materials research. It's not just graphene we should be studying, but the many other opportunities in 2D materials. We expect to be using 2D materials in real applications in the very near future."

Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy and the NSF.

- R. Colin Johnson
??EE Times

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