New technique improves carbon superlattices for quantum electronic devices

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Superlattices are currently used as state of the art high-frequency oscillators and amplifiers and are beginning to find use in optoelectronics as detectors and emitters in the terahertz regime …. can be tuned over a much wider range to create devices which operate in regimes where conventional devices cannot.

A schematic atomic diagram of a quantum well made from amorphous carbon layers. The blue atoms represent amorphous carbon with a high percentage of diamond-like carbon. The maroon atoms represent amorphous carbon which is graphite-like. The diamond-like regions have a high potential (diamond is insulating) while the graphite-like regions are more metallic. This creates a quantum well as electrons

The lack of terahertz emitters and detectors has resulted in a gap in that region of the electromagnetic spectrum (known as the “terahertz gap”), which is a significant limitation, as many biological molecules are active in this regime. This also limits terahertz radio astronomy.

Amorphous Carbon devices are extremely strong, can operate at high voltages and can be developed in most laboratories in the world, without sophisticated nanofabrication facilities …. could find application in biology, space technology, science infrastructure such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope in South Africa, and new microwave detectors.

Source: 2016-10 – Wits researchers find techniques to improve carbon superlattices for quantum electronic devices – Wits University

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