Controlling the electronic properties at the interface between materials could help in the quest for improvements in computer memory.
KAUST researchers show that varying the atomic composition of boron-nitride-based alloys enables tuning of an important electronic property known as polarization.
When an electric field is applied to a single atom, it shifts the center of mass of the cloud of negatively charged electrons away from the positively charged nucleus it surrounds.
In a crystalline solid, these so-called electric dipoles of all atoms combine to create electric polarization.
Some materials exhibit a spontaneous polarization, even without an external electric field.
Such materials have potential uses in computer memory, however, this application requires a material system in which the polarization is controllable.