Researchers from Princeton University observed that electrons in bismuth prefer to crowd into one valley rather than distributing equally into the six available valleys. This behavior creates a type of electricity called ferroelectricity, which involves the separation of positive and negative charges onto opposite sides of a material.
The finding confirms that ferroelectricity arises naturally on the surface of bismuth when electrons collect in a single valley. This behavior could be exploited in future Valleytronics devices. The existence of six valleys in bismuth raises the possibility of distributing information in six different states.