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Semi - Dirac Metals

  • 06 Nov 2019
  • 2 min read

Why in News

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay have discovered special properties in a class of materials called “semi-dirac metals”.

How Semi - Dirac Metals differ from other metals?

  • In general, metals are good conductors of electricity.
  • A key aspect that decides the quality of conduction is the way energy depends on the momentum of electrons.
  • Dirac metals differ from normal metals in that the energy depends linearly on the momentum of electrons. This difference is also responsible for their unique properties.
  • Semi-Dirac metals behave like Dirac metals in one direction and like normal metals in the perpendicular directions (since their microscopic structure is different along the two directions).
  • Examples of semi-dirac metals are systems such as TiO2/V2O3 nanostructures (Oxides of Titanium and Vanadium).

Properties Discovered

  • The direction-dependence of microscopic properties gives Semi - Dirac material special optical properties.
    • Semi-Dirac materials have very high optical conductivity of electromagnetic waves (light waves). These waves are of a specific frequency and a specific polarisation.
    • Optical conductivity is a measure of the opacity offered by the material to the passage of light through it.
      • Semi - Dirac materials would be transparent to light of a given frequency and polarisation when it is incident along a particular direction.
      • These materials would be opaque to the same light when it falls on it from a different direction.
      • There are many known applications for transparent conducting films – the common example being touch screens used in mobiles.
  • The material possesses interesting thermoelectric properties.
    • Thermoelectricity is a clean energy technology that uses waste heat to produce electricity typically in low power applications.
    • This technology is used in efficient cars, where it is used to keep the lights on and to warm seats.

Source: TH

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