Skip to Content
Uncategorized

The Amazing Physics of Spinning Graphene

Levitate a flake of graphene and set it spinning; then this wonder material begins to reveal its truly extraordinary properties

Graphene is one of the more extraordinary materials discovered in the last few years. This carbon chicken wire has properties that make it a superhero in the materials world. It is a superb thermal and electrical conductor, it has a high melting point and it is stronger than almost any other known substance.

And yet measuring these properties is tricky because graphene flakes inevitably have to sit on some kind of substrate and this interferes with the results.

What to do? Now Bruce Kane at the University of Maryland makes the case for suspending charged flakes of graphene in an electric field ion trap. That allows the graphene to sit in a vacuum while it is prodded and poked in whatever way physicists can think of and without the interfering effect of any substrate.

Kane has even achieved this feat by injecting flakes suspended in liquid into a quadropole electric field vacuum.

By shining polarised light on the flakes he can make them spin and accurately measure their rate of rotation.

This suggests some interesting experiments. Kane says that spinning them fast enough would test the strength of the flakes as centrifugal forces tear them apart. That will require rotation rates measured in GHz, much faster than the MHz rates he has been able to measure so far.

It should also be possible to measure a flake’s chemical and physical properties at high temperature. These measurements are difficult when the flake rests on a surface that has a different properties. “Very little is known about the melting of graphene or how defects will behave at high temperatures,” points out Kane.

Another possibility is to cool the flakes to their mechanical ground state and use them as spinning qubits.

That’ll be interesting. Is there anything this wonder material cannot do?

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1006.3774: Levitated Spinning Graphene

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Embracing CX in the metaverse

More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.

Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation

As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain

For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.

Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains

The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.