Rare Supernova Discovery Ushers in New Era for Cosmology

With help from a supernova-hunting pipeline based at NERSC, astronomers captured multiple images of a gravitationally lensed Type 1a supernova. This is currently the only one, but if astronomers can find more they may be able to measure Universal expansion within four percent accuracy. Luckily, Berkeley Lab researchers do have a method for finding more.

Making Batteries From Waste Glass Bottles

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries. The batteries will extend the range of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and provide more power with fewer charges to personal electronics like cell phones and laptops.

Changing the Game

High performance computing researcher Shuaiwen Leon Song asked if hardware called 3D stacked memory could do something it was never designed to do--help render 3D graphics.

A Scientific Advance for Cool Clothing: Temperature-Wise, That Is

Stanford University researchers, with the aid of the Comet supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer at UC San Diego, have engineered a low-cost plastic material that could become the basis for clothing that cools the wearer, reducing the need for energy-consuming air conditioning.

Adjusting Solar Panel Angles a Few Times a Year Makes Them More Efficient

With Earth Day approaching, new research from Binghamton University-State of New York could help U.S. residents save more energy, regardless of location, if they adjust the angles of solar panels four to five times a year.

A Real CAM-Do Attitude

A multi-institutional team used resources at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility to catalog how desert plants photosynthetic processes vary. The study could help scientists engineer drought-resistant crops for food and fuel.

Predictive Power

The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors carried out the largest time-dependent simulation of a nuclear reactor ever to support Tennessee Valley Authority and Westinghouse Electric Company during the startup of Watts Bar Unit 2, the first new US nuclear reactor in 20 years. The simulation was carried out primarily on OLCF resources.

Advantage: Water

When water comes in for a landing on the common catalyst titanium oxide, it splits into hydroxyls just under half the time. Water's oxygen and hydrogen atoms shift back and forth between existing as water or hydroxyls, and water has the slightest advantage, like the score in a highly competitive tennis game.

Self-Assembling Polymers Provide Thin Nanowire Template

In a recent study, a team of researchers from Argonne, the University of Chicago and MIT has developed a new way to create some of the world's thinnest wires, using a process that could enable mass manufacturing with standard types of equipment.

Did You Catch That? Robot's Speed of Light Communication Could Protect You From Danger

If you were monitoring a security camera and saw someone set down a backpack and walk away, you might pay special attention - especially if you had been alerted to watch that particular person. According to Cornell University researchers, this might be a job robots could do better than humans, by communicating at the speed of light and sharing images.

ORNL to Collaborate with Five Small Businesses to Advance Energy Tech

Five small companies have been selected to partner with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory to move technologies in commercial refrigeration systems, water power generation, bioenergy and battery manufacturing closer to the marketplace.

U.S. Department of Energy's INCITE Program Seeks Advanced Computational Research Proposals for 2018

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New Berkeley Lab Project Turns Waste Heat to Electricity

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New SLAC Theory Institute Aims to Speed Research on Exotic Materials at Light Sources

A new institute at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is using the power of theory to search for new types of materials that could revolutionize society - by making it possible, for instance, to transmit electricity over power lines with no loss.

Lenvio Inc. Exclusively Licenses ORNL Malware Behavior Detection Technology

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Argonne Scientist and Nobel Laureate Alexei Abrikosov Dies at 88

Alexei Abrikosov, an acclaimed physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory who received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on superconducting materials, died Wednesday, March 29. He was 88.

Jefferson Lab Accomplishes Critical Milestones Toward Completion of 12 GeV Upgrade

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Valerie Taylor Named Argonne National Laboratory's Mathematics and Computer Science Division Director

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Three SLAC Employees Awarded Lab's Highest Honor

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Dan Sinars Represents Sandia in First Energy Leadership Class

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One Small Change Makes Solar Cells More Efficient

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Electronic "Cyclones" at the Nanoscale

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Deciphering Material Properties at the Single-Atom Level

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Developing Tools to Understand Lithium-Ion Battery Instabilities

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Creation of Artificial Atoms

Article ID: 673275

Released: 2017-04-19 14:05:17

Source Newsroom: Department of Energy, Office of Science

  • Credit: Image courtesy of Eva Andrei, Rutgers University

    Starting with a missing atom, referred to as a vacancy (top left), and applying an electric charge that attracts electrons to the region, the electrons are confined into “orbitals” to create an “artificial atom” (lower right). The images are electron concentration maps obtained with scanning tunneling spectroscopy that visualize the vacancy, and then the electron orbitals (in red) of an artificial atom created in graphene. R1, R1’ and R2 show the orbitals in order of increasing energy.

The Science

For the first time, scientists created a tunable artificial atom in graphene. They demonstrated that a vacancy in graphene can be charged in a controllable way such that electrons can be localized to mimic the electron orbitals of an artificial atom. Importantly, the trapping mechanism is reversible (turned on and off) and the energy levels can be tuned.

The Impact

The results from this research demonstrate a viable, controllable, and reversible technique to confine electrons in graphene. The energy states of the electrons are “tunable.” This tunability opens new avenues of research into the unique physics electron behavior in graphene. Further, it provides a methodology that could facilitate the use of graphene-based devices for future electronics, communications, and sensors.


Graphene’s remarkable electronic properties have fueled the vision of developing graphene-based devices to enable lighter, faster and smarter electronics and advanced computing applications. But progress towards this goal has been slowed by the inability to confine its charge carriers with applied voltage. A team led by researchers from Rutgers University developed a technique to stably host and controllably modify localized charge states in graphene. The researchers created vacancies (missing carbon atoms) in the graphene lattice, by bombarding the sample with charged helium atoms (He+ ions). They demonstrated that it is possible to deposit a positive charge at the vacancy site and to charge it gradually by applying voltage pulses with a scanning tunneling microscope tip. As the charge on the vacancy increases, its interaction with the conduction electrons in graphene undergoes a transition. The interaction turns into a regime where the electrons can be trapped into quasi-bound energy states that resemble an artificial atom. The team further showed that the quasi-bound states at the vacancy site are tunable with application of an external electric field. The trapping mechanism can be turned on and off, providing a new paradigm to control and guide electrons in graphene.



This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences (scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy); National Science Foundation (fabrication and characterization); and European Science Foundation (theory).


J. Mao, Y. Jiang, D. Moldovan, G. Li, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, M. Ramezani Masir, F.M. Peeters, and E.Y. Andrei, “Realization of a tunable artificial atom at a charged vacancy in graphene.” Nature Physics 12, 545-549 (2016). [DOI: 10.1038/nphys3665]