In the olden days, theorists used to sit back with paper and pencil for calculations to find out the natural phenomena. However, in present times, with the advent of powerful computers and calculators which is a boon for theorists, they can perform calculations that can predict phenomena which include forecasting and spotting exoplanets. This huge computing requires lots of energy but the electronics of today are struggling to compute this vast information and can also make computers fry. To overcome this flaw, Arun Bansil, a distinguished professor of Physics at Northeastern University, discovered new properties in the chemical element called Bismuth that conducts electricity.
Arun Bansil says, “This finding is really quantum mechanics becoming alive in new ways. So many hidden aspects of quantum mechanics are coming to the forefront.”
Arun Bansil, with other researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Academia Sinica, predicted that Bismuth has hallmark signatures of materials known as topological insulators.
These topological insulators have a unique feature to conduct electricity efficiently to the end of the surface. Unlike solid materials, that conducts electricity, accelerate electron, and scatter randomly in any particular direction. This accelerated electron will collide with other atoms causing material impurities that will heat the conducting materials.
However, Bismuth which has a distinctive attribute of topology conducts electricity much better as it gets heated less. These electrons carry a certain spin which only moves in one direction which prevents scattering of electrons that will avoid heating up of electronic devices. These topological properties give rise to a high level of stability and make the electronic structure very robust against minor imperfections of its shape.
Bismuth will remain conductive even after its shape slightly gets distorted as the structure and symmetry of its electrons protect it from losing its superior conductivity. This attribute will enable faster production of supercomputers and low power electronics.