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Substrate-induced topological minibands in graphene

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posted on 2023-11-30, 05:46 authored by Tobias M. R. Wolf, Oded Zilberberg, Ivan Levkivkskyi, Gianni Blatter
The honeycomb lattice sets the basic arena for numerous ideas to implement electronic, photonic, or phononic topological bands in (meta-)materials. Novel opportunities to manipulate Dirac electrons in graphene through band engineering arise from superlattice potentials as induced by a substrate such as hexagonal boron-nitride. Making use of the general form of a weak substrate potential as dictated by symmetry, we analytically derive the low-energy minibands of the superstructure, including a characteristic 1.5 Dirac cone deriving from a three-band crossing at the Brillouin zone edge. Assuming a large supercell, we focus on a single Dirac cone (or valley) and find all possible arrangements of the low-energy electron and hole bands in a complete six-dimensional parameter space. We identify the various symmetry planes in parameter space inducing gap closures and find the sectors hosting topological minibands, including also complex band crossings that generate a valley Chern number atypically larger than one. Our map provides a starting point for the systematic design of topological bands by substrate engineering.

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