Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nanophysics in graphene: neutrino physics in quantum rings and superlattices

Department of Physics, Indiana University, , Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.


Electrons in graphene at low energy obey a two-dimensional Dirac equation, closely analogous to that of neutrinos. As a result, quantum mechanical effects when the system is confined or subjected to potentials at the nanoscale may be quite different from what happens in conventional electronic systems. In this article, we review recent progress on two systems where this is indeed the case: quantum rings and graphene electrons in a superlattice potential. In the former case, we demonstrate that the spectrum reveals signatures of 'effective time-reversal symmetry breaking', in which the spectra are most naturally interpreted in terms of effective magnetic flux contained in the ring, even when no real flux is present. A one-dimensional superlattice potential is shown to induce strong band-structure changes, allowing the number of Dirac points at zero energy to be manipulated by the strength and/or period of the potential. The emergence of new Dirac points is shown to be accompanied by strong signatures in the conduction properties of the system.
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