A new electrical method to conveniently change the direction of electron flow in some quantum materials could have implications for the development of next-generation electronic devices and quantum computers.

A team of researchers from Penn State developed and demonstrated the method in materials that exhibit the quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) effect—a phenomenon in which the flow of electrons along the edge of a material does not lose energy. The team described the work in a paper in the journal Nature Materials.

"As electronic devices get smaller and computational demands get larger, it is increasingly important to find ways to improve the efficiency of information transfer, which includes the control of electron flow," said Cui-Zu Chang, Henry W. Knerr Early Career Professor and associate professor of physics at Penn State and co-corresponding author of the paper. "The QAH effect is promising because there is no energy loss as electrons flow along the edges of materials."

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