Condensed Matter Seminar Series

New Carbon-Based Electronics:
From Neutrinos to Transistors

Antonio Castro Neto

Boston University

Monday Jan 28,  4:30pm,  Room 2237 French Family Science Center

Abstract:  The isolation of graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon, in 2004 completes a saga that started in 1564 with the invention of the pencil out of a three dimensional form, graphite, and continued through the synthesis of one-dimensional carbon nanotubes in 1952 (rediscovered a few times since) and then of fullerenes (zero dimensional) in 1985. Although graphene was the last one to be isolated in a laboratory, it is the basis for the understanding of all the other forms. Because of its robust structural and electric properties, graphene is being considered the natural evolution of the silicon-based technology that permeates the modern world. Furthermore, the elementary electronic excitations are massless chiral Dirac electrons which behave in a relativistic way just like neutrinos, albeit propagating with a velocity 300 times smaller than the speed of light. Because the Dirac electrons carry electric charge, they can be manipulated in a laboratory with the use of external electric and magnetic fields, and can be used as the basis of an entirely new electronics. Graphene, being one atom thick, is a soft material that can be easily bent by substrates so that the Dirac fermions propagate in curved space, leading to analogies with quantum gravity. Hence, graphene is a material that brings together concepts in soft and hard condensed matter, with significance for problems in cosmology, particle physics, the theory of metals, mesoscopic physics, and chemistry.

Hosts: Harold Baranger and Berndt Mueller

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