Connecting the physics of semimetals to the theory of black holes

A joint research collaboration between the Julius-Maximilians- Universität Würzburg and the TU Dresden, has launched a three-year research project connecting the physics of semimetals to the theory of black holes.

A central goal of this project is to control the flow of electrons in these materials so precisely that new types of quantum sensors can be developed. The project, led by the Cluster of Excellence – Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter (CT.QMAT) has received funding of roughly €1m.

To conduct electric currents along precisely defined paths, researchers often focus on the analysis of electronic transport properties. For the first time, specific theoretical foundations of different areas of physics will now be unified within the CT.QMAT with the goal of unleashing the full potential of semimetals.

Dr Tobias Meng, an early career research team leader in the CT.QMAT, said: “Together with two colleagues from Luxembourg, we will develop electronic components for future devices capable of entirely new functionalities. As one example, we want to construct electronic lenses that will allow us to very precisely control the flow of electric currents.

“Thus far, semimetals are not used a lot in the electronics industry because they conduct relatively poorly. But we believe that they are much more powerful than silicon when it comes to manipulating electrons on a microscopic level. Therefore research in this field is important and trendsetting.”

This class of materials is still relatively new and has not yet been employed in the design of electronic devices. The combination of relativity and quantum mechanics is a new approach towards a systematic manipulation of electrons in semimetals. The researchers will translate the curvature of spacetime in black holes to the flow of electons in semimetals. The combination of these two thus far vastly unconnected theories opens up entirely new opportunities in worldwide material research.

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