Graphene is an atom-thick plane of carbon and the basic constituent of graphite. Electrons in graphene behave as massless relativistic particles and obey an analogue of the Dirac equation in two dimensions; the experimental observation of these properties led to the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. A variety of schemes have been proposed to realize new electronic states by introducing a mass and bandgap in graphene. One scheme involves transition metal adatoms on graphene which add strong spin-orbit coupling, resulting in a bandgap and a topological insulating quantum spin Hall phase, or, in the case of magnetic order, a quantum anomalous Hall phase. Such phases could carry dissipationless edge currents at room temperature and could be used in future electronics or quantum computing technologies.
This PhD project will characterize the electronic properties of graphene with metal adatoms. In the Fuhrer laboratory at Monash adatom-modified graphene will be created controllably in ultra-high vacuum (UHV), and studied with in situ electronic transport measurements and low-temperature scanning probe microscopy capable of imaging the atomic structure of the modified material. Complementary experiments will be carried out at the Australian Synchrotron to probe the electronic structure of adatom-modified graphene using photoemission spectroscopy.
Scholarships are available and cover tuition and health insurance costs (for International candidates) and provide a living stipend of AUD25,849 per year. Exceptional candidates may receive AUD30,000 per year.