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A New Phase Of Graphene Could Revolutionize Information Routing

Because of its unique electrical conduction properties, graphene is a subject of intense research both in academic and industrial settings. Graphene, the thinnest known material, is essentially two-dimensional. It has unique electronic and photonic properties that are different from other 3D materials.

Purdue University researchers Todd Van Mechelen, Wenbo sun, and Zubin Jacob have demonstrated that graphene’s viscous liquid (electrons colliding with solids can behave as fluids) supports unidirectional electromagnetic wave at the edge. These “edge waves”, which are connected to a new topological Phase of Matter, symbolize a phase change in the material similar to the transition from liquid to solid.

This new graphene phase is light resistant to clutter, imperfections, and deformation

This new graphene phase is notable for its ability to travel light in one direction along its edges. It is also resistant to blemishes and warping. Purdue researchers have used this non-reciprocal effect in order to create “topological circulators” – tiny signal routers that travel one direction along the edge of graphene. This could make it possible for all-optical processing on-chip.

Circulators are an essential building block of optical integrated circuits. However, they resist miniaturization because of their large components and narrow bandwidth.

Information routing between quantum and classical computing systems.

Topological circulators solve this problem by being ultra-sub-wavelength but also broadband. They are enabled by one electromagnetic phase of matter. Information routing and interconnections between quantum and classical computing systems are some of the applications.

Nature Communications published the research.

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