Negative local resistance caused by viscous electron backflow in graphene

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Science  11 Feb 2016:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0201

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Graphene hosts a unique electron system in which electron-phonon scattering is extremely weak but electron-electron collisions are sufficiently frequent to provide local equilibrium above liquid nitrogen temperature. Under these conditions, electrons can behave as a viscous liquid and exhibit hydrodynamic phenomena similar to classical liquids. Here we report strong evidence for this transport regime. We find that doped graphene exhibits an anomalous (negative) voltage drop near current injection contacts, which is attributed to the formation of submicrometer-size whirlpools in the electron flow. The viscosity of graphene’s electron liquid is found to be ≈ 0.1 m2 s−1, an order of magnitude larger than that of honey, in agreement with many-body theory. Our work shows a possibility to study electron hydrodynamics using high quality graphene.

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