The handedness or "chirality" of electrons affects how current flows in graphene transistors, according to new work done by researchers in the UK and Russia. The team's findings could help to make better graphene-based electronic devices and could even lead to a new technology, dubbed "chiraltronics".
Graphene is a sheet of carbon atoms just one atom thick, arranged in a honeycomb lattice. The material is unique in that each electron moves along the sheet relativistically, as if it had no mass, with a speed of 1000 km/s. These electrons are also "chiral" in that they are either "right-handed" or "left-handed" – they are mirror images of each other. The electronic states that they can occupy are also chiral.