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Magneto-optical spectroscopy of multilayer graphene and graphene-hexagonal boron nitride hetero-structures

Abstract : As the fourth most abundant element in the universe, Carbon plays an important rolein the emerging of life in earth as we know it today. The industrial era has seen this element at the heart of technological applications due to the different ways in which carbon forms chemical bonds, giving rise to a series of allotropes each with extraordinary physical properties. For instance, the most thermodynamically stable allotrope of carbon, graphite crystal, is known to be a very good electrical conductor, while diamond very appreciated for its hardness and thermal conductivity is nevertheless considered as an electrical insulator due to different crystallographic structure compared to graphite. The advances in scientific research have shown that crystallographic considerations are not the only determining factor for such a variety in the physical properties of carbon based structures. Recent years have seen the emergence of new allotropes of carbon structures that are stable at ambient conditions but with reduced dimensionality, resulting in largely different properties compared to the three dimensional structures. Among these new classes of carbon allotropes is the first two-dimensional material: graphene.The successful isolation of monolayers of graphene challenged a long established belief in the scientific community: the fact that purely 2D materials cannot exist at ambient conditions. The Landau-Peierls instability theorem states that purely 2D materials are very unstable due to increasing thermal fluctuations when the material in question extends in both dimensions. To minimize its energy, the material will break into coagulated islands, an effect known as island growth. Graphene happens to overcome such barrier by forming continuous ripples on the surface of its substrate and thus is stable even at room temperature and atmospheric pressure.A great intention from the scientific community has been given to graphene, since 2004. Both fundamental and mechanical properties of graphene are fascinating. Thanks to its carbon atoms that are packed in a sp2 hybridized fashion, thus forming a hexagonal lattice structure, graphene has the largest young modulus and stretching power, yet it is hundreds of times stronger than steel. It conducts heat and electricity very efficiently, achieving an electron mobility as high as 107 cm−2V−1 s−1 when suspended over the substrate. The most fascinating aspect about graphene is the nature of its low energy charge carriers. Indeed, graphene has a linear energy dispersion at the charge neutrality, giving the charge carriers in graphene a relativistic nature. Many phenomena observed in this material are consequences of this relativistic nature of its carriers. Ballistic transport, universal optical conductivity, absence of back-scattering, and a new class of room temperaturequantum Hall effect are good examples of newly discovered phenomena in thismaterial. Graphene has become an active research area in condensed matter physics since 2004. It is however still early to state that all the physical properties of this material are well understood. In this thesis we conducted magneto-Raman spectroscopy experiments to address some of the open questions in the physics of graphene, such as the effect of electron-electron coupling on the energy spectrum of monolayer graphene, and the change in the physical properties of multilayer graphene as a function of the crystallographic stacking order. In all our experiments, the graphene-based systems have been subject to strong continuous magnetic fields, applied normal to the graphene layers. We study the evolution of its energy excitation spectra in the presence of the magnetic field, and also the coupling between these excitations and specific vibrational modes that are already in the system. This experimental approach allows us to deduce the band structure of the studied system at zero field, as well as many other lowenergy properties.
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Younes Henni. Magneto-optical spectroscopy of multilayer graphene and graphene-hexagonal boron nitride hetero-structures. Physics [physics]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAY060⟩. ⟨tel-01588425⟩

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