You’re likely familiar with graphite: the chalky gray material we often refer to as pencil lead. In recent years, graphite has been making headlines due to increased interest in its younger sibling: graphene, lauded as a supermaterial of the new age for properties that hold out the promise of novel technological feats. Graphene has the potential to replace silicon-based computer chips, improve the performance of touchscreens, realize ultra-sensitive biometric sensor devices, and even faster charging and increased storage capacity in batteries and capacitors…
Imagine a future in which your iPhone 20 charges itself as you walk down the street and your house is powered by photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells installed in your backyard, using the power of the sun to convert captured rainwater into clean hydrogen. If we have any hope of realizing this future, you can be certain that nanowires will play a significant role. So what are nanowires, and why are they so important? My previous blog post was dedicated to examining a class of objects known as topological materials, with an emphasis on the bizarre realm of topological insulators (TIs). Implicit in the definition of topological insulators in the previous post was the assumption that the bulk of this insulator behaves as one would expect from its name: preventing the flow of electric current. Real-world TIs are not quite so simple, however…
Phineas and Ferb (in the funny Disney cartoon) had it right when they wondered what could be done over a 104-day summer vacation. There is a lot to do, such as go on a trip, get ice cream, spend weeks on end floating in a pool, or doing particle physics research. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted everything in life, resulting in many of these plans being canceled this past summer. Wait! Go back! Why would any student want to spend their summer, their solitary free time during the year, doing particle physics research? Moreover, how would that work during a pandemic, when the university is completely shut down?
In 2016, three physicists, David Thouless, Duncan Haldane, and Mike Kosterlitz, won the Nobel prize in physics for their groundbreaking discoveries of topology in matter/materials. Although many people have heard of topology before, likely associating it with the more familiar term “topography,” the fundamental nature of topology remains relatively opaque to those outside of the fields of math and certain applied sciences.
The more I learn about the discipline of neuroscience, the more I come to see it as the great scientific potluck of our day. While the actual meal at a potluck often seems disjointed, it allows guests to sample a wide variety of tasty foods brought by people from different culinary backgrounds. This post is… Read more »
The author is ScIU guest writer Corrine Deegan, a graduate student in IU’s Department of Physics. What do you remember the most from your pre-college physics lessons? Perhaps you learned something about how every action has an equal and opposite reaction, or perhaps you were lucky enough to be shocked by a Van der Graaf generator. Upon… Read more »