This Element's Weird Behavior Could Lead to Faster Electronics

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EXCERPT: . . . The Princeton-led study, published in Nature Physics[PDF] this month, used a technique called scanning tunneling microscopy to show that bismuth electrons prefer to crowd into a single valley, creating a type of electricity called ferroelectricity. Scientists call it “emergent behavior.”

We’re reaching the physical limits of packing transistors into increasingly tiny spaces, but insights into this growing field of “valleytronics” could lead to new materials that will ensure ever more powerful processors are available to quench our insatiable thirst for better, faster technology.

And, in fact, the study shows bismuth seems to have six specific valleys. This means it may be possible to distribute information in six different states via the presence or lack of an election....


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