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11/28/2014

MagneticfieldsandlaserselicitgraphenesecretScienceDaily

Magneticfieldsandlaserselicitgraphenesecret
Date:

November24,2014

Source: HelmholtzZentrumDresdenRossendorf
ScientistsattheHelmholtz
ZentrumDresdenRossendorf
(HZDR)havestudiedthe
dynamicsofelectronsfrom
the"wondermaterial"
grapheneinamagneticfield
forthefirsttime.Thisledto
thediscoveryofaseemingly
paradoxicalphenomenonin
thematerial.Itsunderstanding
couldmakeanewtypeof
laserpossibleinthefuture.
Togetherwithresearchers
fromBerlin,France,theCzech
RepublicandtheUnited
States,thescientists
preciselydescribedtheir
observationsinamodeland
havenowpublishedtheir
findingsinthescientific
journalNaturePhysics.

Augerscatteringingraphene.

Credit:HZDR/Voigt
Grapheneisconsidereda
"wondermaterial":itsbreaking
strengthishigherthansteel
anditconductselectricityandheatmoreeffectivelythancopper.Asatwodimensionalstructureconsistingofonlya
singlelayerofcarbonatoms,itisalsoflexible,nearlytransparentandapproximatelyonemilliontimesthinnerthana
sheetofpaper.Furthermore,shortlyafteritsdiscoverytenyearsago,scientistsrecognizedthattheenergystatesof
grapheneinamagneticfieldknownasLandaulevelsbehavedifferentlythanthoseofsemiconductors."Many
fascinatingeffectshavebeendiscoveredwithgrapheneinmagneticfields,butthedynamicsofelectronshavenever
beenstudiedinsuchasystemuntilnow,"explainsphysicistDr.StephanWinnerlfromHZDR.
TheHZDRresearchersexposedthegraphenetoafourTeslamagneticfieldfortytimesstrongerthanahorseshoe
magnet.Asaresult,theelectronsingrapheneoccupyonlycertainenergystates.Thenegativelychargedparticles
werevirtuallyforcedontracks.Theseenergylevelswerethenexaminedwithfreeelectronlaserlightpulsesatthe
HZDR."ThelaserpulseexcitestheelectronsintoacertainLandaulevel.Atemporallydelayedpulsethenprobeshow
thesystemevolves,"explainsMartinMittendorff,doctoralcandidateattheHZDRandfirstauthorofthepaper.
Electronredistributionsurprisesscientists
Theresultoftheexperimentshasastonishedtheresearchers.Thisparticularenergylevel,intowhichnewelectrons
werepumpedusingthelaser,graduallyemptied.Winnerlillustratesthisparadoxicaleffectusinganeverydayexample:
"Imaginealibrariansortingbooksonabookshelfwiththreeshelves.Sheplacesonebookatatimefromthelower
shelfontothemiddleshelf.Hersonissimultaneously'helping'bytakingtwobooksfromthemiddleshelf,placingone
ofthemonthetopshelf,theotheronthebottom.Thesonisveryeagerandnowthenumberofbooksonthemiddle
shelfdecreaseseventhoughthisispreciselytheshelfhismotherwishestofill."
Becausetherewereneitherexperimentsnortheoriesregardingsuchdynamicsbefore,theDresdenphysicistsinitially
haddifficultyinterpretingthesignalscorrectly.Afteranumberofattempts,however,theyfoundanexplanation:
collisionsbetweenelectronscausethisunusualrearrangement."ThiseffecthaslongbeenknownasAugerscattering,
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11/28/2014

MagneticfieldsandlaserselicitgraphenesecretScienceDaily

butnooneexpecteditwouldbesostrongandwouldcauseanenergyleveltobecomedepleted,"explainsWinnerl.
Thisnewdiscoverycouldbeusedinthefuturefordevelopingalaserthatcanproducelightwitharbitrarilyadjustable
wavelengthsintheinfraredandterahertzranges."SuchaLandaulevellaserwaslongconsideredimpossible,butnow
withgraphenethissemiconductorphysicists'dreamcouldbecomeareality,"saysWinnerlenthusiastically.
BerlinresearcherscalculatecomplexmodelforDresdenexperiments
Afterthefundamentalmodelusedintheexperimentshadworkedsatisfactorily,theprecisetheoreticalworkfollowed,
whichwascarriedoutattheTechnicalUniversityBerlin.BerlinscientistsErminMalicandAndreasKnorrconfirmed,
usingcomplexcalculations,theDresdengroup'sassumptionsandprovideddetailedinsightsintotheunderlying
mechanisms.TheHZDRresearchersadditionallycooperatedwiththeFrenchHighMagneticFieldLaboratoryin
Grenoble(LaboratoireNationaldesChampsMagntiquesIntensesLNCMI),theCharlesUniversityPragueandthe
GeorgiaInstituteofTechnologyinAtlanta(USA).
TheresearchhasbeenfundedbytheGermanresearchassociationDFG(DeutscheForschungsgemeinschaft)within
theprogram"Graphene."
StorySource:
TheabovestoryisbasedonmaterialsprovidedbyHelmholtzZentrumDresdenRossendorf.Note:Materialsmaybe
editedforcontentandlength.
JournalReference:
1. MartinMittendorff,FlorianWendler,ErminMalic,AndreasKnorr,MilanOrlita,MarekPotemski,ClaireBerger,Walter
A.deHeer,HaraldSchneider,ManfredHelm,StephanWinnerl.CarrierdynamicsinLandauquantizedgraphene
featuringstrongAugerscattering.NaturePhysics,2014DOI:10.1038/NPHYS3164
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