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In this issue:
From the Director: Politics and SLAC Don't Mix
SLAC Green Electronics Efforts Garner Second Federal Award
Word of the Week: 2-D Electron Gas

SLAC Today

Friday - October 15, 2010

From the Director:
Politics and SLAC Don't Mix

(Photo - Persis Drell)
(Photo by Brad Plummer.)

Election season is upon us. Passions run high. We are inundated in the printed press, on the radio, with roadside signs and television spots proclaiming the virtues and vices of various candidates and propositions. I encourage all of you, as responsible citizens, to be part of our electoral process. But remember that however you choose to support your favorite political initiatives and candidates, you may not use any SLAC resources in the process. It is against the law.  Read more...

SLAC Green Electronics Efforts Garner Second Federal Award

2010 DOE FEC award recipients with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. (Photo courtesy the DOE Office of Environmental Policy and Assistance.)

For the second year in a row, a cross-lab team of volunteers has accepted the Federal Electronics Challenge to improve SLAC's "green quotient" by implementing a program to purchase more eco-friendly office electronics, keep the items in use longer and dispose of them in the most environmentally sound way possible. The team's success in meeting this challenge is evident in their second straight FEC Bronze Award. SLAC was one of 11 Department of Energy facilities to receive a 2010 FEC award for Fiscal Year 2009 activities.  Read more...

Word of the Week: 2-D Electron Gas

Inside this low-temperature Faraday cage, or shielded room, Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science researchers like Ileana Rau, pictured, study a two-dimensional electron gas that will exhibit many novel quantum phenomena. (Photo: SIMES.)

On the macro level, where the phenomena of classical physics live, a two-dimensional object—of, say, width and length alone—can exist only in the imagination.

But in the quantum mechanical realm, the rules are a little different, as usual. Here can be found the two-dimensional electron gas, which is a collection of electrons either at the interface between two materials, as in a semiconductor, or at the surface of a material such as liquid helium or graphene. In such a gas the electrons are so tightly confined along one dimension that the rules of quantum mechanics restrict the individual electrons to quantized energy levels. They can still move freely in the other two directions, thus creating a fog of particles trapped in two dimensions.

2DEGs, as 2-D electron gases are called, are currently a popular research topic among condensed matter physicists, who are seeking to understand the emergent properties of complex electron systems—in other words, how billions of electrons react when put in strange situations.


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