12 September 2013 Artificial Graphene

Artificial graphene can be created with ultracold atoms, as it is done in experiments of Letticia Tarruell.

Artificial honeycomb lattices for electrons, atoms and photons in Nature Nanotechnology Graphene is THE material of the XXIst century, but the physics of graphene is still full of open questions, puzzles and challenges.

Recent advances in the design and fabrication of artificial honeycomb lattices pave the way for the realization, investigation, and manipulation of a wide class of systems displaying massless Dirac quasiparticles, topological phases, and strong correlations. One can consider these systems as examples of artificial graphene systems, which may provide a perfect playground for simulating and studying graphene physics. In the recent review in Nature Nanotechnology, ICREA Professor at ICFO, Maciej Lewenstein, with colleagues from Pisa, Madrid and Stanford, discusses recent progress in the creation of such artificial structures focusing on atom-by-atom assembling by scanning probe methods, nanopatterning of ultra-high-mobility two-dimensional electron gases in semiconductors, and optical trapping of ultracold atoms in crystals of light. They also discuss photonic crystals with Dirac cone dispersion displaying zero-refractive index and directional electromagnetic flow analogous to chiral edge states. The paper emphasizes how the interplay between single-particle band-structure-engineering and cooperative effects leads to spectacular manifestations in tunnelling and optical spectroscopy.