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Compelling experimental evidence of a Dirac cone in the electronic structure of a 2D Silicon layer

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      Abstract

      The remarkable properties of graphene stem from its two-dimensional (2D) structure, with a linear dispersion of the electronic states at the corners of the Brillouin zone (BZ) forming a Dirac cone. Since then, other 2D materials have been suggested based on boron, silicon, germanium, phosphorus, tin, and metal di-chalcogenides. Here, we present an experimental investigation of a single silicon layer on Au(111) using low energy electron diffraction (LEED), high resolution angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (HR-ARPES), and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The HR-ARPES data show compelling evidence that the silicon based 2D overlayer is responsible for the observed linear dispersed feature in the valence band, with a Fermi velocity of comparable to that of graphene. The STM images show extended and homogeneous domains, offering a viable route to the fabrication of silicene-based opto-electronic devices.

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      Two-dimensional gas of massless Dirac fermions in graphene.

      Quantum electrodynamics (resulting from the merger of quantum mechanics and relativity theory) has provided a clear understanding of phenomena ranging from particle physics to cosmology and from astrophysics to quantum chemistry. The ideas underlying quantum electrodynamics also influence the theory of condensed matter, but quantum relativistic effects are usually minute in the known experimental systems that can be described accurately by the non-relativistic Schrödinger equation. Here we report an experimental study of a condensed-matter system (graphene, a single atomic layer of carbon) in which electron transport is essentially governed by Dirac's (relativistic) equation. The charge carriers in graphene mimic relativistic particles with zero rest mass and have an effective 'speed of light' c* approximately 10(6) m s(-1). Our study reveals a variety of unusual phenomena that are characteristic of two-dimensional Dirac fermions. In particular we have observed the following: first, graphene's conductivity never falls below a minimum value corresponding to the quantum unit of conductance, even when concentrations of charge carriers tend to zero; second, the integer quantum Hall effect in graphene is anomalous in that it occurs at half-integer filling factors; and third, the cyclotron mass m(c) of massless carriers in graphene is described by E = m(c)c*2. This two-dimensional system is not only interesting in itself but also allows access to the subtle and rich physics of quantum electrodynamics in a bench-top experiment.
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        Experimental observation of the quantum Hall effect and Berry's phase in graphene.

        When electrons are confined in two-dimensional materials, quantum-mechanically enhanced transport phenomena such as the quantum Hall effect can be observed. Graphene, consisting of an isolated single atomic layer of graphite, is an ideal realization of such a two-dimensional system. However, its behaviour is expected to differ markedly from the well-studied case of quantum wells in conventional semiconductor interfaces. This difference arises from the unique electronic properties of graphene, which exhibits electron-hole degeneracy and vanishing carrier mass near the point of charge neutrality. Indeed, a distinctive half-integer quantum Hall effect has been predicted theoretically, as has the existence of a non-zero Berry's phase (a geometric quantum phase) of the electron wavefunction--a consequence of the exceptional topology of the graphene band structure. Recent advances in micromechanical extraction and fabrication techniques for graphite structures now permit such exotic two-dimensional electron systems to be probed experimentally. Here we report an experimental investigation of magneto-transport in a high-mobility single layer of graphene. Adjusting the chemical potential with the use of the electric field effect, we observe an unusual half-integer quantum Hall effect for both electron and hole carriers in graphene. The relevance of Berry's phase to these experiments is confirmed by magneto-oscillations. In addition to their purely scientific interest, these unusual quantum transport phenomena may lead to new applications in carbon-based electronic and magneto-electronic devices.
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          The Band Theory of Graphite

           P. R. Wallace (1947)
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay , ISMO-CNRS, Bât. 210, Université Paris-Sud, F-91405, Orsay, France
            [2 ]TEMPO Beamline, Synchrotron Soleil , L’Orme des Merisiers Saint-Aubin, B.P.48, 91192 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
            [3 ]CNR-IOM, TASC Laboratory, AREA Science Park Basovizza , I-34149, Trieste, Italy
            [4 ]International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) , Strada Costiera 11, I-34100, Trieste, Italy
            [5 ]Department of Physics, University of Central Florida , Orlando, FL, 32816, USA
            [6 ]Département de physique, Université de Cergy-Pontoise , F-95031, Cergy-Pontoise Cedex, France
            Author notes
            Journal
            Sci Rep
            Sci Rep
            Scientific Reports
            Nature Publishing Group
            2045-2322
            10 March 2017
            2017
            : 7
            28281666
            5344999
            srep44400
            10.1038/srep44400
            Copyright © 2017, The Author(s)

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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