Graphene quantum dots could improve magnetic field sensors
Researchers from the University of California Santa Cruz, University of Manchester and Japan's International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics and National Institute for Materials Science have used a scanning tunnelling microscope to create and probe single and coupled electrostatically defined graphene quantum dots, to investigate the magnetic-field responses of artificial relativistic nanostructures.
Trapped electrons traveling in circular loops at extreme speeds inside graphene quantum dots are highly sensitive to external magnetic fields and could be used as novel magnetic field sensors with unique capabilities. Although graphene electrons do not move at the speed of light, they exhibit the same energy-momentum relationship as photons and can be described as "ultra-relativistic." When these electrons are confined in a quantum dot, they travel at high velocity in circular loops around the edge of the dot.