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Magnetism Discovered in Three Layers of Graphene

A recent study observes the wave nature of electrons in graphene (one atom thick graphite) at a very low temperature of -272⁰C. Magnetism of electrons has been discovered in three layers of graphene. Using this new kind of magnet, soon electronic devices can be made using graphene for fundamental studies.

But why is this discovery of so much significance? Metals have a high density of electrons. Hence, in order to observe the wave nature of electrons in metals, metallic wires only a few atoms wide need to be created. But graphene has a low density of electrons and the density can be changed by making a transistor. Therefore, the wave nature of electrons is easier to observe in graphene.

Often in metals the electron is scattered every 100 nano-meters due to impurities and imperfections. But in graphene, electrons can travel much longer, up to distances of 10 micrometer. This is made possible by sandwiching graphene between layers of boron nitride. With fewer imperfections, the flow of electrons is better which enables electronic interactions between electrons. This is observed in three layers of graphene. From these interactions, magnetism of electrons arises.



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