UVA Engineering Professor Avik Ghosh’s Work Named Top-10 Breakthrough of Year

Physics World editors have selected work by University of Virginia Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Avik Ghosh and his colleagues as one of the Top Ten Breakthroughs of 2016. Ghosh and fellow researchers from Columbia University, Cornell University, the Japanese National Institute for Materials Science, Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science and IBM measured the negative refraction of electrons in graphene, and their work was recently published in Science. In addition, Prof. Ghosh’s new textbook, “Nanoelectronics: A Molecular View,” has been published by World Scientific.

A team led by Cory Dean, assistant professor of physics at Columbia University, Avik Ghosh, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Virginia, and James Hone, Wang Fong-Jen Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia Engineering, has directly observed—for the first time—negative refraction for electrons passing across a boundary between two regions in a conducting material. First predicted in 2007, this effect has been difficult to confirm experimentally. The researchers were able to observe the effect in graphene, demonstrating that electrons in the atomically thin material behave like light rays, which can be manipulated by such optical devices as lenses and prisms. The findings, which are published in the September 30 edition of Science, could lead to the development of new types of electron switches, based on the principles of optics rather than electronics.