Researchers at MIT, Harvard and Japan's National Institute for Materials Science have reported a surprising property in graphene: When stacked in five layers, in a rhombohedral pattern, graphene displays a rare, “multiferroic” state, in which the material exhibits both unconventional magnetism and an exotic type of electronic behavior, which the team has named "ferro-valleytricity".
“Graphene is a fascinating material,” said Long Ju, assistant professor of physics at MIT. “Every layer you add gives you essentially a new material. And now this is the first time we see ferro-valleytricity, and unconventional magnetism, in five layers of graphene. But we don’t see this property in one, two, three, or four layers”. The discovery could promote ultra-low-power, high-capacity data storage devices for classical and quantum computers.