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Fractional quantum Hall effect and insulating phase of Dirac electrons in graphene

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Abstract

In graphene, which is an atomic layer of crystalline carbon, two of the distinguishing properties of the material are the charge carriers’ two-dimensional and relativistic character. The first experimental evidence of the two-dimensional nature of graphene came from the observation of a sequence of plateaus in measurements of its transport properties in the presence of an applied magnetic field1,2. These are signatures of the so-called integer quantum Hall effect. However, as a consequence of the relativistic character of the charge carriers, the integer quantum Hall effect observed in graphene is qualitatively different from its semiconductor analogue3. As a third distinguishing feature of graphene, it has been conjectured that interactions and correlations should be important in this material, but surprisingly, evidence of collective behaviour in graphene is lacking. In particular, the quintessential collective quantum behaviour in two dimensions, the fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE), has so far resisted observation in graphene despite intense efforts and theoretical predictions of its existence4,5,6,7,8,9. Here we report the observation of the FQHE in graphene. Our observations are made possible by using suspended graphene devices probed by two-terminal charge transport measurements10. This allows us to isolate the sample from substrate-induced perturbations that usually obscure the effects of interactions in this system and to avoid effects of finite geometry. At low carrier density, we find a field-induced transition to an insulator that competes with the FQHE, allowing its observation only in the highest quality samples. We believe that these results will open the door to the physics of FQHE and other collective behaviour in graphene.

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Figure 1: Characteristics of the suspended graphene devices.
Figure 2: FQHE in suspended graphene.
Figure 3: Insulating behaviour at ν = 0.

Change history

  • 12 November 2009

    Three minor changes in the wording of the text in the paragraph beginning 'The FQHE in semiconductor based...' were made on 12 November 2009.

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Acknowledgements

Work was supported by DE-FG02-99ER45742 and partially supported by NSF-DMR-045673. We thank J. Jain, D. Abanin, L. Levitov, A. Akhmerov, V. Falko and H. Fertig, for discussions.

Author Contributions X.D. and I.S. designed and performed experiments and analysed data; F.D and A.L. prepared samples; and E.Y.A. analysed the data, wrote the paper and directed the project.

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Correspondence to Eva Y. Andrei.

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Du, X., Skachko, I., Duerr, F. et al. Fractional quantum Hall effect and insulating phase of Dirac electrons in graphene . Nature 462, 192–195 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature08522

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