Graphene/hBN SQUID detects even the faintest magnetic fields

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland, Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary and National Institute for Material Science in Japan have developed a new, super-small device that is capable of detecting minute magnetic fields.

Conventional vs. new SQUID imageA conventional SQUID (left) and the new SQUID (right). (University of Basel, Department of Physics)

The device, a new kind of superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID), is just 10 nanometres high, or around a thousandth of the thickness of a human hair. It's made from two layers of graphene – making it one of the smallest SQUIDs ever built – separated by a very thin layer of boron nitride.

A graphene and hBN 'sandwich' could create improved sensors and microscopes

Cornell researchers, led by Katja Nowack, assistant professor of physics, used an ultrathin graphene and hexagonal boron nitride 'sandwich' to create a tiny magnetic field sensor that can operate over a greater temperature range than previous sensors, while also detecting miniscule changes in magnetic fields that might otherwise get lost within a larger magnetic background.

Nowack's lab specializes in using scanning probes to conduct magnetic imaging. One of their go-to probes is the superconducting quantum interference device, or SQUID, which works well at low temperatures and in small magnetic fields.

Researchers create a mechanically-tunable graphene quantum dot

Researchers at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) recently presented what they say is the first mechanically-tunable monolayer graphene QD whose electronic properties can be modified by in-plane nanometer displacements.

TU Delft team creates novel GQD image

The ability to precisely manipulate individual charge carriers can be considered as a cornerstone for single-electron transistors and for electronic devices of the future, including solid-state quantum bits (qubits). Quantum dots (QDs) are at the heart of these devices.

Graphene Flagship welcomes sixteen new FLAG-ERA projects

The Graphene Flagship has announced 16 New FLAG-ERA projects, that cover a broad range of topics, from fundamental to applied research. These projects which will become Partnering Projects of the Graphene Flagship – receiving around €11 million in funding overall.

Bringing together a diverse range of European knowledge and expertise, FLAG-ERA is an ERA-NET (European Research Area Network) initiative that aims to create synergies between new research projects and the Graphene Flagship and Human Brain Project.

MIT researchers use graphene and boron nitride to convert terahertz waves to usable energy

Researchers at MIT are working to develop a graphene-based device that may be able to convert ambient terahertz waves into a direct current. The MIT team explains that any device that sends out a Wi-Fi signal also emits terahertz waves —electromagnetic waves with a frequency somewhere between microwaves and infrared light. These high-frequency radiation waves, known as “T-rays,” are also produced by almost anything that registers a temperature, including our own bodies and the inanimate objects around us.

Graphene and boron nitride to help use terahertz energy image

Terahertz waves are pervasive in our daily lives, and if harnessed, their concentrated power could potentially serve as an alternate energy source. Imagine, for instance, a cellphone add-on that passively soaks up ambient T-rays and uses their energy to charge your phone. However, to date, terahertz waves are wasted energy, as there has been no practical way to capture and convert them into any usable form. This is exactly what the MIT scientists set out to do.