PhD defense: Electronic properties of graphene in high titled magnetic fields

Date of news: 5 January 2017

On Friday January 6th, 2017, Francesca Chiappini will receive her doctorate degree in the Aula of Radboud University. During her PhD research at the HFML, Chiappini focused on the electronic properties of graphene.

Graphene is a two dimensional material made of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice. Since its experimental discovery in 2004, it has attracted continuous attention from the scientific community because of it remarkable structural and electronic properties. In her PhD, Francesca Chiappini studied the electronic properties of graphene at low temperatures using high tilted magnetic fields.

An external magnetic field induces in graphene the formation of discrete energy levels populated by electrons. Each of these levels is four-time degenerate, which means that electrons with opposite spin and opposite valley have the same energy. A high magnetic field removes the degeneracy of the levels and four distinct electronic states can be observed. By means of tilted field experiments, Chiappini characterized the spin and valley polarization of each of the observed states and investigated the physical mechanism causing the splitting. In particular, she addressed the interplay between single particle and interaction effects in causing the observed energy spectrum, providing a deeper understanding of the physical properties of graphene in high magnetic fields.

In her experiments, Chiappini used graphene based field effect transistor and capacitors made by the researchers of the group lead by Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim at the University of Manchester. Novoselov and Geim won in 2010 the Nobel prize for the discovery and their work on graphene. Novoselov will be present during the public defense of Francesca Chiappini.

Francesca Chiappini (Genoa, Italy, 1987) studied Physics at Università degli studi di Genova in Genova, Italy between 2006 and 2010. In 2010 she spent the last year of her Master’s study at the Radboud University in Nijmegen as an exchange student within the Erasmus program. Between 2012 and 2016 she worked as PhD student at the HFML. Since September 2016, Francesca Chiappini works as trainee at TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) in Delft.