Woven With Electrons

 First Place Award

Woven With Electrons Image


Brenden Ortiz
Postdoctoral Scholar

Wilson Lab and Quantum Foundry


The striking colors and patterns of a new kagome lattice promises to provide researchers with a bounty of new physics. Named for an ancient style of basket weaving – but woven from electrons instead of fiber – the interlaced stars and hexagons showcase Nature’s handicraft.

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Crystals of our new material were illuminated with a high-intensity X-ray beam. The light interacts with electrons in the material and produces the brilliant patterns seen here. Imagine the patterns as a series of maps, showing where electrons “pool.” This is analogous to viewing a network of rivers from a bird’s eye view, with bright seams indicating where “electron pools” can be found. The four square panels depict different cross-sections... Returning to our analogy with water, imagine imaging not only the surface, but also the ground water. This image also shows the synergy between chemistry, computer modeling, and measurement. Experimental data is shown inside the circles, backlit by a detailed computer simulation.