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Electrons flowing like liquid in graphene start a new wave of physics

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A new understanding of the physics of conductive materials has been uncovered by scientists observing the unusual movement of electrons in graphene.

Now, observations in experiments at the National Graphene Institute have provided essential understanding as to the peculiar behaviour of electron flows in graphene, which need to be considered in the design of future Nano-electronic circuits.

In some high-quality materials, like graphene, electrons can travel micron distances without scattering, improving the conductivity by orders of magnitude. Last year, a new field in solid-state physics termed ‘electron hydrodynamics’ generated huge scientific interest.

Three different experiments, including one performed by The University of Manchester, demonstrated that at certain temperatures, electrons collide with each other so frequently they start to flow collectively like a viscous fluid.

Sir Andre Geim said: “We know from school that additional disorder always creates extra electrical resistance. In our case, disorder induced by electron scattering actually reduces rather than increase resistance. This is unique and quite counterintuitive: Electrons when make up a liquid start propagating faster than if they were free, like in vacuum”.

Superballistic flow of viscous electron fluid through graphene constrictions, Nature Physics.

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Article originally posted at m.phys.org

Post Author: Kim Lachance Shandrow

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