A team of scientists has discovered a new asymmetric topological insulator made of many layers of BiTeCl, which enables electrical current to flow differently along its top surface than along its bottom.
Scientists working at SLAC, Stanford, Oxford, Berkeley Lab and in Tokyo have discovered a new type of quantum material whose lopsided behavior may lend itself to creating novel electronics.
The material is called bismuth tellurochloride, or BiTeCl. It belongs to a class of materials called topological insulators that conduct electrical current with perfect efficiency on their surfaces, but not through their middles. Researchers hope to exploit their unusual properties to create “spintronic” devices that use the electron’s spin, rather than just its charge, to carry energy and information with 100 percent efficiency and at room temperature.