Pseudo Magnetic Field Larger 1000T

  Schematic representation of the graphene surface with STM tip Copyright: © Institut2b Left: Strain of the graphene lattice due to forces of the STM tip on the lattice. Pseudo magnetic field strength is shown in color. Top right: Atomically resolved lattice without strain. Bottom right: Breaking of sublattice symmetry by stretching.

One of the intriguing characteristics of honeycomb lattices is the appearance of a pseudomagnetic field as a result of mechanical deformation. In the case of graphene, the Landau quantization resulting from this pseudomagnetic field has been measured using scanning tunneling microscopy. We showed that a signature of the pseudomagnetic field is a local sublattice symmetry breaking observable as a redistribution of the local density of states. This can be interpreted as a polarization of graphene’s pseudospin due to a strain induced pseudomagnetic field, in analogy to the alignment of a real spin in a magnetic field. We reveal this sublattice symmetry breaking by tunably straining graphene using the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope. The tip locally lifts the graphene membrane from a SiO2 support, as visible by an increased slope of the I(z) curves. The amount of lifting is consistent with molecular dynamics calculations, which reveal a deformed graphene area under the tip in the shape of a Gaussian. The pseudomagnetic field induced by the deformation becomes visible as a sublattice symmetry breaking which scales with the lifting height of the strained deformation and therefore with the pseudomagnetic field strength. Its magnitude is quantitatively reproduced by analytic and tight-binding models, revealing fields of 1000T.

Publication in Nano Letters