University of Utah engineers demonstrated it is feasible to build the first organic materials that conduct electricity on their molecular edges, but act as an insulator inside. Called organic topological insulators, these materials are made from a thin molecular sheet (left) that resembles chicken wire and conducts electricity on its right edge (blue line) — with the electrons carrying more information in the form of “up” spin. These new materials could be used to shuttle information at the speed of light in quantum computers due to the unique physical behavior a special class of electrons called Dirac fermions, depicted (right) in a plot of their energy and momentum. Credit: Zhengfei Wang and Feng Liu, University of Utah.

Engineers show feasibility of superfast materials

by Staff Writers
Salt Lake City UT (SPX) Feb 20, 2013

University of Utah engineers demonstrated it is feasible to build the first organic materials that conduct electricity on their edges, but act as an insulator inside. These materials, called organic topological insulators, could shuttle information at the speed of light in quantum computers and other high-speed electronic devices.

The study published this week in the journal Nature Communications will help pioneer a new field of research in materials science, in the same way organic materials lowered the cost and eased production of light-emitting diodes and solar cells, says senior author Feng Liu, professor and chair of materials science and engineering.

“This is the first demonstration of the existence of topological insulators based on organic materials,” says Liu. “Our findings will broaden the scope and impact of these materials in various applications from spintronics to quantum computing.”

Read more: Engineers show feasibility of superfast materials — Space Daily.

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