Researchers from Brown and Columbia Universities in the U.S have demonstrated that unknown states of matter arise from stacking two-dimensional layers of graphene together. These new states have been named the fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE), and are created through the complex interactions of electrons within and across graphene layers.

"In terms of materials engineering, this work shows that these layered systems could be viable in creating new types of electronic devices that take advantage of these new quantum Hall states," said Jia Li, assistant professor at Brown. Li added: "The findings show that stacking 2-D materials together in close proximity generates entirely new physics."

Further demonstrating the potential importance of this research, the team pointed out that these new quantum Hall states "may be useful in making fault-tolerant quantum computer."

The researchers said: "Once again the incredible versatility of graphene has allowed us to push the boundaries of device structures beyond what was previously possible". "The precision and tunability with which we can make these devices is now allowing us to explore an entire realm of physics that was just recently thought to be totally inaccessible."

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