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Columbia researchers observe tunable quantum behavior in bilayer graphene
Date:7/10/2014

single layer graphene required simply making cleaner devices, observing this effect in bilayer graphene proved more difficult. "We knew that we could fabricate very clean bilayer graphene structures, but we suffered from our inability to make good electrical contact since bilayer graphene develops an electronic 'band-gap' under the high magnetic fields and low temperatures required for our experiments," says Cory Dean, professor of Physics who recently moved to Columbia University, and lead author on the paper. A critical breakthrough was re-design of the devices so that the charge density in the contact regions could be tuned independently from the rest of the device, which allowed them to maintain good electrical contact even under large magnetic fields. "Once we had this new device structure the results were spectacular."

Reporting in the July 4, 2014 edition of Science, the team demonstrates the existence of the fractional quantum Hall effect in bilayer graphene and shows evidence of a controllable phase transition by application of electric fields. One of the key questions towards understanding the fractional quantum Hall effect in any system is to identify the order associated with the ground state. For example, do all electrons associated within the collective state carry the same spin? In bilayer graphene this question is more complex since there are several degrees of symmetry at play all at once. In addition to spin, electrons can polarize by spontaneously residing entirely on one layer versus the other. This complexity provides an interesting new phase space to explore for new and unusual effects. In particular, several theories have predicted that application of electric fields to bilayer graphene could enable transitions between these ground state orders. "This is a new experimental knob that just is not available in other systems," says James Hone, a professor of Mechanical Engineering and co-author on the paper. The team has confirm
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Contact: Beth Kwon
byk2102@columbia.edu
212-854-6581
Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

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