Heading towards next generation computers
The world is developing so fast technologically, but a layman would be happy enough, if it is possible to reduce the size of the electronic components to minimum scale. Rizzo et al. from Switzerland illustrated that these two targets can be achieved together, with minimum effort!
What determines the electrical properties of materials? If the electrons are free to move in a material, then it will act as a conductor, but if the electrons are immobile, then the material will be an insulator. Another category of materials known as topological insulators behave as a conductor at the surface, but as an insulator at the interior.
Have you heard of graphite- one of the pure forms of carbon? Graphite, reduced to a size of 50 nm is known as graphene nanoribbon. When two types of graphene nanoribbons are joined together- in a way a chef makes a dish based on a recipe- they act as topological insulators. These graphene nanoribbons are going to act as the building block for a quantum computer of the future, which can compute at amazing speeds!