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Exchange interaction, disorder, and stacking faults in rhombohedral graphene multilayers

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
Article number035404
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/07/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Physical Review B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number3
Volume104
Number of pages15
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date2/07/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

We apply the mean-field Hartree Fock theory of gapped electronic states at charge neutrality in bilayer graphene to thin films of rhombohedral graphite with up to thirty layers. For the ground state, the order parameter (the separation of bands at the valley center) saturates to a constant non-zero value as the layer number increases, whereas the band gap decreases with layer number. We consider chiral symmetry breaking disorder in the form of random layer potentials and chiral preserving disorder in the form of random values of the interlayer coupling. The former reduces the magnitude of the mean band gap whereas the latter has a negligible effect, which is due to self-averaging within a film with a large number of layers. We determine the ground state in the presence of an individual stacking fault which results in two pairs of low-energy bands and we identify two separate order parameters. One of them determines the band gap at zero temperature, the other determines the critical temperature leading, overall, to a temperature dependence of the band gap that is distinct to that of pristine rhombohedral graphite. In the presence of stacking faults, each individual rhombohedral section with m layers contributes a pair of low-energy flat bands producing a peak in the Berry curvature located at a characteristic m-dependent wave vector. The Chern number per spin-valley flavor for the filled valence bands in the ground state is equal in magnitude to the total number of layers divided by two, the same value as for pristine rhombohedral graphite.

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© 2021 American Physical Society