UBC Researchers Find New Quantum Switch that Turns Metals into Insulators
(Phys.org) University of British Columbia researchers have demonstrated an entirely new way to precisely control such electrical currents by leveraging the interaction between an electron’s spin (which is the quantum magnetic field it inherently carries) and its orbital rotation around the nucleus.
“We have found a new way to switch the electrical conduction in materials from on to off,” said lead author Berend Zwartsenberg, a Ph.D. student at UBC’s Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (SBQMI). “Not only does this exciting result extend our understanding of how electrical conduction works, it will help us further explore known properties such as conductivity, magnetism and superconductivity, and discover new ones that could be important for quantum computing, data storage and energy applications.”
“This is a really exciting result at the fundamental physics level, and expands the potential of modern electronics,” said co-author Andrea Damascelli, principal investigator and scientific director of SBQMI. “If we can develop a microscopic understanding of these phases of quantum matter and their emergent electronic phenomena, we can exploit them by engineering quantum materials atom-by-atom for new electronic, magnetic and sensing applications.”