Tunable fractional quantum Hall phases in bilayer graphene

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Science  04 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6192, pp. 61-64
DOI: 10.1126/science.1252875

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Breaking down graphene degeneracy

Bilayer graphene has two layers of hexagonally arranged carbon atoms stacked on top of each other in a staggered configuration. This spatial arrangement results in degenerate electronic states: distinct states that have the same energy. Interaction between electrons can cause the states to separate in energy, and so can external fields (see the Perspective by LeRoy and Yankowitz). Kou et al., Lee et al., and Maher et al. used three distinct experimental setups that clarify different parameter regimes of bilayer graphene.

Science, this issue p. 55, p. 58, p. 61; see also p. 31


Symmetry-breaking in a quantum system often leads to complex emergent behavior. In bilayer graphene (BLG), an electric field applied perpendicular to the basal plane breaks the inversion symmetry of the lattice, opening a band gap at the charge neutrality point. In a quantizing magnetic field, electron interactions can cause spontaneous symmetry-breaking within the spin and valley degrees of freedom, resulting in quantum Hall effect (QHE) states with complex order. Here, we report fractional QHE states in BLG that show phase transitions that can be tuned by a transverse electric field. This result provides a model platform with which to study the role of symmetry-breaking in emergent states with topological order.

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