In work that may have broad implications for the development of new materials for electronics, Caltech scientists for the first time have developed a way to predict how electrons interacting strongly with atomic motions will flow through a complex material. To do so, they relied only on principles from quantum mechanics and developed an accurate new computational method.

Studying a material called strontium titanate, postdoctoral researcher Jin-Jian Zhou and Marco Bernardi, assistant professor of applied physics and , showed that charge near cannot be explained by standard models. In fact, it violates the Planckian limit, a quantum speed limit for how fast electrons can dissipate energy while they flow through a material at a given .

Their work was published in the journal Physical Review Research on December 2.

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