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Science Technology

'Bizarre' Nanobubbles Found In Strained Graphene 84

schliz writes "Physicists have observed 'bizarre' behaviour in graphene electrons that they say could make the material even more suitable to replace silicon in future electronic devices. When strained in a particular manner, nanobubbles formed on a sheet of graphene, within which electrons came to occupy particular, quantum energy levels rather than the usual, continuous range of energies in unstrained graphene. By controlling electrons' energy levels, researchers could control how easily they moved through graphene — in effect, controlling their conductivity, optical, or microwave properties."
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'Bizarre' Nanobubbles Found In Strained Graphene

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  • by morty_vikka ( 1112597 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:23AM (#33080806)
    ... too, many, commas, in, this, summary.
  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @08:21AM (#33081698)
    I'm a historian, not a physicist or engineer. Even if I were, could somebody who made typewriters a century ago tell you how a petaflop supercomputer would work? FFS, exaflop supercomputers are expected in a decade. All I know is that Light Peak [] exists, and FTL EM research [] exists [], and that suggests at least a reasonable potential for FTL optical computing.
  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @10:11AM (#33083268)

    The second article is about John Singleton and the polarization synchrotron. Unfortunately that article, which has been regurgitated all over the net gets WAY ahead of itself. I wasn't able to find out whether Singleton actually claimed faster than light data transmission while talking to that reporter (I very much doubt it) or if the reporter made it up, but no such thing was demonstrated.

    This [] article is about the same thing and Singleton specifically says that special relativity is not violated, which means no information could be transmitted faster than light. The description of what's going on also makes it clear that the effect is very similar to the "waving a laser at the moon" example (used by Singleton himself), which does not involve any information transmission.

    The speed of light in a vacuum (yes, when people say "the speed of light" in this context they mean in a vacuum) isn't the sacred thing. Nor is relativity. The real sacred principle is causality which, like the conservation of energy, has never been observed to be violated and would lead to all kinds of weird stuff if it ever were.

    Maybe someone will one day figure out how to transmit a signal faster than light. At present no one has even described theoretically how it might reasonably be done.

    You say you're not a physicist. May I suggest you take a bit more humble approach when criticizing actual physicists? Oh, and don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

  • by BungaDunga ( 801391 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @01:35PM (#33086694)

    IANAPhysist either, but I am pretty good at math.

    Yes, FTL communication leads to causality violation. The "tachyon pistols" is a thought experiment that explains it: []
    You can argue this, I guess, but it falls out of special relativity. If these experiments already done actually do propagate a signal faster than light then engineering a paradox would not be that hard, and that would be huge news.

    "By carefully adjusting the frequency of the voltage and the phase displacement the researchers say they can make the wave travel at greater than the speed of light. However no physical quantity of charge travels faster than light speed."
    The experiment in the article is fundamentally the same as sweeping a laser across the moon. As I read it, they're basically shoving the EM field enough that one part wiggles, then another part wiggles, and if you calculate the "speed" as if the wiggles were a wave moving from one place to another then you get a number faster than light. However, the wiggles aren't actually causing one another and don't transmit information in the direction of propagation.

    One of the funny things about special relativity is that subjective time slows down the faster something moves. An atomic clock in orbit ticks slower than one on the ground. When you hit the speed of light (you can't, if you've got mass, but say you're a photon) then time stops entirely. Photons do not experience time.

    Actually, all photons move at the speed of light. The apparent speed of light can slow down, by putting a bunch of atoms in the photon's way. The photon is absorbed and another is emitted, and that takes time. It's possible to take that emission and slow it down almost arbitrarily, "freezing" light.

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"