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10 december 2018

Approved FOM programme

Number 128. 
Title The singular physics of 1D electrons (ODE)
Executive organisational unit BUW
Programme management Prof.dr.ir. H.J.W. Zandvliet
Duration 2011-2016
Cost estimate M€ 2.3

The physics of one-dimensional electronic systems is fundamentally determined by inter­actions. Unlike in Fermi liquid systems, where interactions simply lead to the smooth defor­mation of electrons into electron-like quasiparticles, interactions in 1D induce remarkably strong correlations. These strong correlations translate into the disappearance of the electron as a fundamental unit, and its replacement by charge and spin collective modes with distinct experimental signatures. The main objective of this FOM programme is to realize, study, understand and ultimately tailor the physical properties of one-dimensional (electron) systems.

Background, relevance and implementation
The properties of electron systems become increasingly exotic as one progresses from the three-dimensional (3D) case into lower dimensions. In 2D electron systems novel and intri­guing physical phenomena, such as the integer and fractional quantum Hall effect, have been found. More recently, the realization of a single layer of graphite (graphene) has resulted in a wealth of unexpected and exciting physics. For instance, electron transport in graphene is governed by the relativistic Dirac equation rather than the Schrödinger equation. Similar excitement has been generated recently by the discovery of 2D topologically protected states displaying Dirac dispersion cones at the surface of bulk 3D insulators.

The predictions for 1D electron gases lead to even more exotic properties. There, the Fermi liquid approach breaks down spectacularly. It has been predicted that the 1D electron gas is much better described by the Luttinger liquid formalism, leading to many intriguing proper­ties, among which the view that the electron loses its identity and separates into two collective excitations of the quantum mechanical many body system: a spinon that carries spin without charge, and a holon that carries the positive charge of a hole without its spin.

This programme will provide a concerted team effort between experiment and theory, combi­ning complementary methods for the generation of 1D electron systems with a battery of nano-manipulation and imaging techniques operating in real and reciprocal space, as well as various other characterization techniques, and geared towards making contact with recent theoretical breakthroughs in our understanding and capabilities to compute measurable observables of 1D electron systems.

The final evaluation of this programme will consist of a self-evaluation initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2017.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2013 within this FOM programme here.