Letter | Published:

Phonon-mediated superconductivity in graphene by lithium deposition

Nature Physics volume 8, pages 131134 (2012) | Download Citation

Abstract

Graphene1 is the physical realization of many fundamental concepts and phenomena in solid-state physics2. However, in the list of graphene’s many remarkable properties3,4,5,6, superconductivity is notably absent. If it were possible to find a way to induce superconductivity, it could improve the performance and enable more efficient integration of a variety of promising device concepts including nanoscale superconducting quantum interference devices, single-electron superconductor–quantum dot devices7,8, nanometre-scale superconducting transistors9 and cryogenic solid-state coolers10. To this end, we explore the possibility of inducing superconductivity in a graphene sheet by doping its surface with alkaline metal adatoms, in a manner analogous to which superconductivity is induced in graphite intercalated compounds11,12 (GICs). As for GICs, we find that the electrical characteristics of graphene are sensitive to the species of adatom used. However, contrary to what happens in GICs, Li-covered graphene is superconducting at a much higher temperature with respect to Ca-covered graphene.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    et al. Two-dimensional atomic crystals. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 102, 10451–10453 (2005).

  2. 2.

    Graphene: Status and prospects. Science 324, 1530–1534 (2009).

  3. 3.

    , & Chiral tunnelling and the Klein paradox in graphene. Nature Phys. 2, 620–625 (2006).

  4. 4.

    et al. Room-temperature quantum Hall effect in graphene. Science 315, 1379 (2007).

  5. 5.

    , , & Experimental observation of the quantum Hall effect and Berry’s phase in graphene. Nature 438, 201–204 (2005).

  6. 6.

    et al. Fine structure constant defines visual transparency of graphene. Science 320, 1308 (2008).

  7. 7.

    , , & Hybrid superconductor-quantum dot devices. Nature Nanotech. 5, 703711 (2010).

  8. 8.

    et al. Scanning gate microscopy measurements on a superconducting single-electron transistor. Phys. Rev. B 79, 134530 (2009).

  9. 9.

    et al. Low-noise current amplifier based on mesoscopic Josephson junction. Science 299, 1045–1048 (2003).

  10. 10.

    et al. Heat-transistor: Demonstration of gate-controlled electronic refrigeration. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 027203 (2007).

  11. 11.

    et al. Superconductivity of bulk CaC6. Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 087003 (2005).

  12. 12.

    et al. Superconductivity in the intercalated graphite compounds C6Yb and C6Ca. Nature Phys. 1, 39–41 (2005).

  13. 13.

    et al. Kohn anomalies and electron-phonon interactions in graphite. Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 185503 (2004).

  14. 14.

    et al. The role of the interlayer state in the electronic structure of superconducting graphite intercalated compounds. Nature Phys. 1, 42–45 (2005).

  15. 15.

    & Possibility of superconductivity in graphite intercalated with alkaline earths investigated with density functional theory. Phys. Rev. B 74, 094507 (2006).

  16. 16.

    et al. Superconductivity in heavy alkaline-earth intercalated graphites. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 027001 (2007).

  17. 17.

    et al. Enhancement of superconductivity and evidence of structural instability in intercalated graphite CaC6 under high pressure. Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 067002 (2007).

  18. 18.

    et al. QUANTUM ESPRESSO: A modular and open-source software project for quantum simulations of materials. J. Phys. Condens. Matter 21, 395502 (2009).

  19. 19.

    Appendix C of J. P. Perdew and A. Zunger, Self-interaction correction to density-functional approximations for many-electron systems, Phys. Rev. B 23, 5048–5079 (1981).

  20. 20.

    & Theoretical explanation of superconductivity in C6Ca. Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 237002 (2005).

  21. 21.

    et al. Electron–phonon interaction in graphite intercalation compounds. Phys. Rev. B 76, 064510 (2007).

  22. 22.

    & Intercalation of lithium into graphite and other carbons. Carbon 13, 337–345 (1975).

  23. 23.

    & Alkali metal adsorption on graphite: A review. J. Phys. Condens. Matter 17, R995–R1024 (2005).

  24. 24.

    & Possible high-temperature superconductivity in multilayer graphane: Can the cuprates be beaten? J. Low Temp. Phys. 164, 264–271 (2011).

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by a CINECA-HPC ISCRA grant, the EU DEISA-SUPERMAG project and an HPC grant at CASPUR. Some of the calculations were carried out at the IDRIS supercomputing centre (project 91202).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Dipartimento di Fisica Università degli Studi di L’Aquila and SPIN-CNR, I-67100 L’Aquila, Italy

    • Gianni Profeta
  2. Max-Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics, Weinberg 2, D-06120 Halle, Germany

    • Gianni Profeta
  3. IMPMC, Universitè Paris 6, CNRS, 4 Pl. Jussieu, 75015 Paris, France

    • Matteo Calandra
    •  & Francesco Mauri

Authors

  1. Search for Gianni Profeta in:

  2. Search for Matteo Calandra in:

  3. Search for Francesco Mauri in:

Contributions

All of the authors contributed equally to the project.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gianni Profeta.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Information

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys2181

Further reading