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Physics Colloquium Series: Professor Erik Henriksen
(Physics Lecture Series) Washington University in St. Louis, Department of Physics
“Physics by Proximity to Graphene”
Electrons in graphene—an atomically thin sheet of carbon atoms on a honeycomb lattice—live entirely on a surface: there is no volume for them to hide in. Thus, anything in contact with the surface can impact the electronic properties of this material. Usually the result is called “disorder” and considered a nuisance. In contrast, I will present two ongoing experiments that seek to turn this environmental sensitivity to advantage: in the first, we are attempting to “turn-on” a spin-orbit coupling in graphene via surface adatoms, toward a realization of the prototypical topological insulator; and in the second, we have begun using graphene as a probe to seek signatures of the Kitaev quantum spin liquid in the antiferromagnetic Mott insulator RuCl3.