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1.
Science ; 375(6579): 430-433, 2022 01 28.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35084955

RESUMEN

In thermodynamic equilibrium, current in metallic systems is carried by electronic states near the Fermi energy, whereas the filled bands underneath contribute little to conduction. Here, we describe a very different regime in which carrier distribution in graphene and its superlattices is shifted so far from equilibrium that the filled bands start playing an essential role, leading to a critical-current behavior. The criticalities develop upon the velocity of electron flow reaching the Fermi velocity. Key signatures of the out-of-equilibrium state are current-voltage characteristics that resemble those of superconductors, sharp peaks in differential resistance, sign reversal of the Hall effect, and a marked anomaly caused by the Schwinger-like production of hot electron-hole plasma. The observed behavior is expected to be common to all graphene-based superlattices.

2.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 7170, 2021 Dec 09.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34887395

RESUMEN

Two-dimensional crystals with angstrom-scale pores are widely considered as candidates for a next generation of molecular separation technologies aiming to provide extreme, exponentially large selectivity combined with high flow rates. No such pores have been demonstrated experimentally. Here we study gas transport through individual graphene pores created by low intensity exposure to low kV electrons. Helium and hydrogen permeate easily through these pores whereas larger species such as xenon and methane are practically blocked. Permeating gases experience activation barriers that increase quadratically with molecules' kinetic diameter, and the effective diameter of the created pores is estimated as ∼2 angstroms, about one missing carbon ring. Our work reveals stringent conditions for achieving the long sought-after exponential selectivity using porous two-dimensional membranes and suggests limits on their possible performance.

3.
Nature ; 588(7837): 250-253, 2020 12.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33299189

RESUMEN

Capillary condensation of water is ubiquitous in nature and technology. It routinely occurs in granular and porous media, can strongly alter such properties as adhesion, lubrication, friction and corrosion, and is important in many processes used by microelectronics, pharmaceutical, food and other industries1-4. The century-old Kelvin equation5 is frequently used to describe condensation phenomena and has been shown to hold well for liquid menisci with diameters as small as several nanometres1-4,6-14. For even smaller capillaries that are involved in condensation under ambient humidity and so of particular practical interest, the Kelvin equation is expected to break down because the required confinement becomes comparable to the size of water molecules1-22. Here we use van der Waals assembly of two-dimensional crystals to create atomic-scale capillaries and study condensation within them. Our smallest capillaries are less than four ångströms in height and can accommodate just a monolayer of water. Surprisingly, even at this scale, we find that the macroscopic Kelvin equation using the characteristics of bulk water describes the condensation transition accurately in strongly hydrophilic (mica) capillaries and remains qualitatively valid for weakly hydrophilic (graphite) ones. We show that this agreement is fortuitous and can be attributed to elastic deformation of capillary walls23-25, which suppresses the giant oscillatory behaviour expected from the commensurability between the atomic-scale capillaries and water molecules20,21. Our work provides a basis for an improved understanding of capillary effects at the smallest scale possible, which is important in many realistic situations.

4.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 5756, 2020 Nov 13.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33188210

RESUMEN

In quantizing magnetic fields, graphene superlattices exhibit a complex fractal spectrum often referred to as the Hofstadter butterfly. It can be viewed as a collection of Landau levels that arise from quantization of Brown-Zak minibands recurring at rational (p/q) fractions of the magnetic flux quantum per superlattice unit cell. Here we show that, in graphene-on-boron-nitride superlattices, Brown-Zak fermions can exhibit mobilities above 106 cm2 V-1 s-1 and the mean free path exceeding several micrometers. The exceptional quality of our devices allows us to show that Brown-Zak minibands are 4q times degenerate and all the degeneracies (spin, valley and mini-valley) can be lifted by exchange interactions below 1 K. We also found negative bend resistance at 1/q fractions for electrical probes placed as far as several micrometers apart. The latter observation highlights the fact that Brown-Zak fermions are Bloch quasiparticles propagating in high fields along straight trajectories, just like electrons in zero field.

5.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 3725, 2020 Jul 24.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32709947

RESUMEN

One of the long-sought-after goals in light manipulation is tuning of transmitted interference colours. Previous approaches toward this goal include material chirality, strain and electric-field controls. Alternatively, colour control by magnetic field offers contactless, non-invasive and energy-free advantages but has remained elusive due to feeble magneto-birefringence in conventional transparent media. Here we demonstrate an anomalously large magneto-birefringence effect in transparent suspensions of magnetic two-dimensional crystals, which arises from a combination of a large Cotton-Mouton coefficient and relatively high magnetic saturation birefringence. The effect is orders of magnitude stronger than those previously demonstrated for transparent materials. The transmitted colours of the suspension can be continuously tuned over two-wavelength cycles by moderate magnetic fields below 0.8 T. The work opens a new avenue to tune transmitted colours, and can be further extended to other systems with artificially engineered magnetic birefringence.

6.
Sci Adv ; 6(16): eaay7838, 2020 Apr.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32494602

RESUMEN

Magnetic fields force ballistic electrons injected from a narrow contact to move along skipping orbits and form caustics. This leads to pronounced resistance peaks at nearby voltage probes as electrons are effectively focused inside them, a phenomenon known as magnetic focusing. This can be used not only for the demonstration of ballistic transport but also to study the electronic structure of metals. Here, we use magnetic focusing to probe narrowbands in graphene bilayers twisted at ~2°. Their minibands are found to support long-range ballistic transport limited at low temperatures by intrinsic electron-electron scattering. A voltage bias between the layers causes strong minivalley splitting and allows selective focusing for different minivalleys, which is of interest for using this degree of freedom in frequently discussed valleytronics.

7.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 3054, 2020 Jun 11.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32528007

RESUMEN

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

8.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 2339, 2020 May 11.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32393747

RESUMEN

Electron-electron interactions play a critical role in many condensed matter phenomena, and it is tempting to find a way to control them by changing the interactions' strength. One possible approach is to place a studied system in proximity of a metal, which induces additional screening and hence suppresses electron interactions. Here, using devices with atomically-thin gate dielectrics and atomically-flat metallic gates, we measure the electron-electron scattering length in graphene and report qualitative deviations from the standard behavior. The changes induced by screening become important only at gate dielectric thicknesses of a few nm, much smaller than a typical separation between electrons. Our theoretical analysis agrees well with the scattering rates extracted from measurements of electron viscosity in monolayer graphene and of umklapp electron-electron scattering in graphene superlattices. The results provide a guidance for future attempts to achieve proximity screening of many-body phenomena in two-dimensional systems.

9.
Nature ; 579(7798): 229-232, 2020 03.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32161387

RESUMEN

Despite being only one-atom thick, defect-free graphene is considered to be completely impermeable to all gases and liquids1-10. This conclusion is based on theory3-8 and supported by experiments1,9,10 that could not detect gas permeation through micrometre-size membranes within a detection limit of 105 to 106 atoms per second. Here, using small monocrystalline containers tightly sealed with graphene, we show that defect-free graphene is impermeable with an accuracy of eight to nine orders of magnitude higher than in the previous experiments. We are capable of discerning (but did not observe) permeation of just a few helium atoms per hour, and this detection limit is also valid for all other gases tested (neon, nitrogen, oxygen, argon, krypton and xenon), except for hydrogen. Hydrogen shows noticeable permeation, even though its molecule is larger than helium and should experience a higher energy barrier. This puzzling observation is attributed to a two-stage process that involves dissociation of molecular hydrogen at catalytically active graphene ripples, followed by adsorbed atoms flipping to the other side of the graphene sheet with a relatively low activation energy of about 1.0 electronvolt, a value close to that previously reported for proton transport11,12. Our work provides a key reference for the impermeability of two-dimensional materials and is important from a fundamental perspective and for their potential applications.

10.
Nat Commun ; 10(1): 4008, 2019 Sep 05.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31488842

RESUMEN

At very small twist angles of ∼0.1°, bilayer graphene exhibits a strain-accompanied lattice reconstruction that results in submicron-size triangular domains with the standard, Bernal stacking. If the interlayer bias is applied to open an energy gap inside the domain regions making them insulating, such marginally twisted bilayer graphene is expected to remain conductive due to a triangular network of chiral one-dimensional states hosted by domain boundaries. Here we study electron transport through this helical network and report giant Aharonov-Bohm oscillations that reach in amplitude up to 50% of resistivity and persist to temperatures above 100 K. At liquid helium temperatures, the network exhibits another kind of oscillations that appear as a function of carrier density and are accompanied by a sign-changing Hall effect. The latter are attributed to consecutive population of the narrow minibands formed by the network of one-dimensional states inside the gap.

11.
Science ; 364(6436): 162-165, 2019 04 12.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30819929

RESUMEN

An electrical conductor subjected to a magnetic field exhibits the Hall effect in the presence of current flow. Here, we report a qualitative deviation from the standard behavior in electron systems with high viscosity. We found that the viscous electron fluid in graphene responds to nonquantizing magnetic fields by producing an electric field opposite to that generated by the ordinary Hall effect. The viscous contribution is substantial and identified by studying local voltages that arise in the vicinity of current-injecting contacts. We analyzed the anomaly over a wide range of temperatures and carrier densities and extracted the Hall viscosity, a dissipationless transport coefficient that was long identified theoretically but remained elusive in experiments.

12.
Nature ; 558(7710): 420-424, 2018 06.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29925968

RESUMEN

Gas permeation through nanoscale pores is ubiquitous in nature and has an important role in many technologies1,2. Because the pore size is typically smaller than the mean free path of gas molecules, the flow of the gas molecules is conventionally described by Knudsen theory, which assumes diffuse reflection (random-angle scattering) at confining walls3-7. This assumption holds surprisingly well in experiments, with only a few cases of partially specular (mirror-like) reflection known5,8-11. Here we report gas transport through ångström-scale channels with atomically flat walls12,13 and show that surface scattering can be either diffuse or specular, depending on the fine details of the atomic landscape of the surface, and that quantum effects contribute to the specularity at room temperature. The channels, made from graphene or boron nitride, allow helium gas flow that is orders of magnitude faster than expected from theory. This is explained by specular surface scattering, which leads to ballistic transport and frictionless gas flow. Similar channels, but with molybdenum disulfide walls, exhibit much slower permeation that remains well described by Knudsen diffusion. We attribute the difference to the larger atomic corrugations at molybdenum disulfide surfaces, which are similar in height to the size of the atoms being transported and their de Broglie wavelength. The importance of this matter-wave contribution is corroborated by the observation of a reversed isotope effect, whereby the mass flow of hydrogen is notably higher than that of deuterium, in contrast to the relation expected for classical flows. Our results provide insights into the atomistic details of molecular permeation, which previously could be accessed only in simulations10,14, and demonstrate the possibility of studying gas transport under controlled confinement comparable in size to the quantum-mechanical size of atoms.

13.
Nat Nanotechnol ; 13(6): 468-472, 2018 06.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29556005

RESUMEN

Atoms start behaving as waves rather than classical particles if confined in spaces commensurate with their de Broglie wavelength. At room temperature this length is only about one ångström even for the lightest atom, hydrogen. This restricts quantum-confinement phenomena for atomic species to the realm of very low temperatures1-5. Here, we show that van der Waals gaps between atomic planes of layered crystals provide ångström-size channels that make quantum confinement of protons apparent even at room temperature. Our transport measurements show that thermal protons experience a notably higher barrier than deuterons when entering van der Waals gaps in hexagonal boron nitride and molybdenum disulfide. This is attributed to the difference in the de Broglie wavelengths of the isotopes. Once inside the crystals, transport of both isotopes can be described by classical diffusion, albeit with unexpectedly fast rates comparable to that of protons in water. The demonstrated ångström-size channels can be exploited for further studies of atomistic quantum confinement and, if the technology can be scaled up, for sieving hydrogen isotopes.

14.
Nano Lett ; 18(4): 2623-2629, 2018 04 11.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29529377

RESUMEN

It is well-known that superconductivity in thin films is generally suppressed with decreasing thickness. This suppression is normally governed by either disorder-induced localization of Cooper pairs, weakening of Coulomb screening, or generation and unbinding of vortex-antivortex pairs as described by the Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless (BKT) theory. Defying general expectations, few-layer NbSe2, an archetypal example of ultrathin superconductors, has been found to remain superconducting down to monolayer thickness. Here, we report measurements of both the superconducting energy gap Δ and critical temperature TC in high-quality monocrystals of few-layer NbSe2, using planar-junction tunneling spectroscopy and lateral transport. We observe a fully developed gap that rapidly reduces for devices with the number of layers N ≤ 5, as does their TC. We show that the observed reduction cannot be explained by disorder, and the BKT mechanism is also excluded by measuring its transition temperature that for all N remains very close to TC. We attribute the observed behavior to changes in the electronic band structure predicted for mono- and bi- layer NbSe2 combined with inevitable suppression of the Cooper pair density at the superconductor-vacuum interface. Our experimental results for N > 2 are in good agreement with the dependences of Δ and TC expected in the latter case while the effect of band-structure reconstruction is evidenced by a stronger suppression of Δ and the disappearance of its anisotropy for N = 2. The spatial scale involved in the surface suppression of the density of states is only a few angstroms but cannot be ignored for atomically thin superconductors.

15.
Science ; 357(6347): 181-184, 2017 07 14.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28706067

RESUMEN

Cyclotron motion of charge carriers in metals and semiconductors leads to Landau quantization and magneto-oscillatory behavior in their properties. Cryogenic temperatures are usually required to observe these oscillations. We show that graphene superlattices support a different type of quantum oscillation that does not rely on Landau quantization. The oscillations are extremely robust and persist well above room temperature in magnetic fields of only a few tesla. We attribute this phenomenon to repetitive changes in the electronic structure of superlattices such that charge carriers experience effectively no magnetic field at simple fractions of the flux quantum per superlattice unit cell. Our work hints at unexplored physics in Hofstadter butterfly systems at high temperatures.

16.
Nat Commun ; 8: 15215, 2017 05 09.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28485380

RESUMEN

Thousands of tons of isotopic mixtures are processed annually for heavy-water production and tritium decontamination. The existing technologies remain extremely energy intensive and require large capital investments. New approaches are needed to reduce the industry's footprint. Recently, micrometre-size crystals of graphene are shown to act as efficient sieves for hydrogen isotopes pumped through graphene electrochemically. Here we report a fully-scalable approach, using graphene obtained by chemical vapour deposition, which allows a proton-deuteron separation factor of around 8, despite cracks and imperfections. The energy consumption is projected to be orders of magnitude smaller with respect to existing technologies. A membrane based on 30 m2 of graphene, a readily accessible amount, could provide a heavy-water output comparable to that of modern plants. Even higher efficiency is expected for tritium separation. With no fundamental obstacles for scaling up, the technology's simplicity, efficiency and green credentials call for consideration by the nuclear and related industries.

17.
Nat Commun ; 8: 15036, 2017 04 12.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28401904

RESUMEN

Research on black phosphorus has been experiencing a renaissance over the last years, after the demonstration that few-layer crystals exhibit high carrier mobility and a thickness-dependent bandgap. Black phosphorus is also known to be a superconductor under high pressure exceeding 10 GPa. The superconductivity is due to a structural transformation into another allotrope and accompanied by a semiconductor-metal transition. No superconductivity could be achieved for black phosphorus in its normal orthorhombic form, despite several reported attempts. Here we describe its intercalation by several alkali metals (Li, K, Rb and Cs) and alkali-earth Ca. All the intercalated compounds are found to be superconducting, exhibiting the same (within experimental accuracy) critical temperature of 3.8±0.1 K and practically identical characteristics in the superconducting state. Such universal superconductivity, independent of the chemical composition, is highly unusual. We attribute it to intrinsic superconductivity of heavily doped individual phosphorene layers, while the intercalated layers of metal atoms play mostly a role of charge reservoirs.

18.
Nature ; 538(7624): 222-225, 2016 Oct 13.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27602512

RESUMEN

Nanometre-scale pores and capillaries have long been studied because of their importance in many natural phenomena and their use in numerous applications. A more recent development is the ability to fabricate artificial capillaries with nanometre dimensions, which has enabled new research on molecular transport and led to the emergence of nanofluidics. But surface roughness in particular makes it challenging to produce capillaries with precisely controlled dimensions at this spatial scale. Here we report the fabrication of narrow and smooth capillaries through van der Waals assembly, with atomically flat sheets at the top and bottom separated by spacers made of two-dimensional crystals with a precisely controlled number of layers. We use graphene and its multilayers as archetypal two-dimensional materials to demonstrate this technology, which produces structures that can be viewed as if individual atomic planes had been removed from a bulk crystal to leave behind flat voids of a height chosen with atomic-scale precision. Water transport through the channels, ranging in height from one to several dozen atomic planes, is characterized by unexpectedly fast flow (up to 1 metre per second) that we attribute to high capillary pressures (about 1,000 bar) and large slip lengths. For channels that accommodate only a few layers of water, the flow exhibits a marked enhancement that we associate with an increased structural order in nanoconfined water. Our work opens up an avenue to making capillaries and cavities with sizes tunable to ångström precision, and with permeation properties further controlled through a wide choice of atomically flat materials available for channel walls.

19.
Nat Commun ; 7: 12587, 2016 08 25.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27557732

RESUMEN

Trapped substances between a two-dimensional (2D) crystal and an atomically flat substrate lead to the formation of bubbles. Their size, shape and internal pressure are determined by the competition between van der Waals attraction of the crystal to the substrate and the elastic energy needed to deform it, allowing to use bubbles to study elastic properties of 2D crystals and conditions of confinement. Using atomic force microscopy, we analysed a variety of bubbles formed by monolayers of graphene, boron nitride and MoS2. Their shapes are found to exhibit universal scaling, in agreement with our analysis based on the theory of elasticity of membranes. We also measured the hydrostatic pressure induced by the confinement, which was found to reach tens of MPa inside submicron bubbles. This agrees with our theory estimates and suggests that for even smaller, sub-10 nm bubbles the pressure can be close to 1 GPa and may modify properties of a trapped material.

20.
Sci Rep ; 6: 23254, 2016 Mar 16.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26979564

RESUMEN

Despite graphene's long list of exceptional electronic properties and many theoretical predictions regarding the possibility of superconductivity in graphene, its direct and unambiguous experimental observation has not been achieved. We searched for superconductivity in weakly interacting, metal decorated graphene crystals assembled into so-called graphene laminates, consisting of well separated and electronically decoupled graphene crystallites. We report robust superconductivity in all Ca-doped graphene laminates. They become superconducting at temperatures (Tc) between ≈4 and ≈6 K, with Tc's strongly dependent on the confinement of the Ca layer and the induced charge carrier concentration in graphene. We find that Ca is the only dopant that induces superconductivity in graphene laminates above 1.8 K among several dopants used in our experiments, such as potassium, caesium and lithium. By revealing the tunability of the superconducting response through doping and confinement of the metal layer, our work shows that achieving superconductivity in free-standing, metal decorated monolayer graphene is conditional on an optimum confinement of the metal layer and sufficient doping, thereby bringing its experimental realization within grasp.

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