Tuning quantum nonlocal effects in graphene plasmonics

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Science  14 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6347, pp. 187-191
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan2735

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Plasmons probe the quantum response

Electronic systems are typically considered as classical Fermi liquids, and the quantum mechanical interactions and processes are usually only accessed at very low temperatures and high magnetic fields. Lundeberg et al. used tunable plasmons to probe the quantum response of the electron gas of graphene (see the Perspective by Basov and Fogler). They studied shape deformations of the Fermi surface during a plasmon oscillation, as well as many-body electronic effects.

Science, this issue p. 187; see also p. 132


The response of electron systems to electrodynamic fields that change rapidly in space is endowed by unique features, including an exquisite spatial nonlocality. This can reveal much about the materials’ electronic structure that is invisible in standard probes that use gradually varying fields. Here, we use graphene plasmons, propagating at extremely slow velocities close to the electron Fermi velocity, to probe the nonlocal response of the graphene electron liquid. The near-field imaging experiments reveal a parameter-free match with the full quantum description of the massless Dirac electron gas, which involves three types of nonlocal quantum effects: single-particle velocity matching, interaction-enhanced Fermi velocity, and interaction-reduced compressibility. Our experimental approach can determine the full spatiotemporal response of an electron system.

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