First Observation of Quantum Anomalous Hall Effect in Experiment

Quantum anomalous Hall effect (QAHE) refers to quantum Hall effect due to the spontaneous magnetization of materials at zero magnetic field. Scientists have predicted that this effect may exist in magnetic topological insulators, but experimental observations of the quantum anomalous Hall effect had failed. 

A joint research team by the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University observed the quantum anomalous Hall effect for the first time from experiment. This is an important physical phenomenon independently observed by Chinese scientists in the experiment, and also an important scientific discovery in basic research in the field of physics. 

The beauty of the quantum anomalous Hall effect is that it does not require any external magnetic field. Therefore, it is possible in the future to use the non-dissipative edge states of the quantum anomalous Hall effect to develop a new generation of low-energy transistors and electronic devices, and thus solve the problem of computer over-heating and the bottleneck of Moore's Law.

Results of the study were published in Science on March 14, 2013.

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