Observation of Klein tunneling in graphene p-n junctions N. Stander, B. Huard, and D. Goldhaber-Gordon∗

Stanford University, Department of Physics, Stanford, California, USA Transport through potential barriers in graphene is investigated using a set of metallic gates capacitively coupled to graphene to modulate the potential landscape. When a gate induced potential step is steep enough, disorder can be neglected and the resistance across the step is in quantitative agreement with predictions of Klein tunneling of Dirac fermions. We also perform magnetoresistance measurements at low magnetic elds and compare them to recent predictions.

Graphene research has recently made rapid progress toward high mobilities [1, 2] and mass production [3]. This material is promising for novel applications and fundamental physics due to remarkable electronic, optical and mechanical properties [4]. At energies relevant to electrical transport, quasi-particles are believed to behave like Dirac fermions with a constant velocity vF ' 1.1 × 106 m.s−1 characterizing their dispersion relation E = ~vF k . The Klein paradox for massless Dirac fermions predicts that carriers in graphene hitting a potential step at normal incidence transmit with probability one regardless of the height and width of the step [5]. At non-normal incidence, carriers should behave like massive Dirac fermions so that the Klein tunneling probability would depend on the prole of the potential step [5, 6, 7]. Recent experiments have investigated transport across potential steps imposed by a set of electrostatic gates [8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. In all these experiments, even those using suspended top gates, the Klein tunneling probability was not measured quantitatively, partly because of disorder. We present measurements on six devices which quantitatively conrm Klein tunneling in graphene when a steep enough tunable potential prole created by the gates is taken into account properly [14]. Disorder is suciently strong in all our devices to mask eects of multiple reections between the two steps of a potential barrier, so that all data can be accounted for by considering two independent steps adding ohmically in series. Finally, we probe the transition to the strongly disordered regime in which transport even through a single step is diusive, and we rene the accuracy of the transition parameter introduced by Fogler et al. [15]. In a complementary measurement, we show that the effect of a low magnetic eld on the Klein tunneling in graphene is not explained by existing predictions in the clean limit [16]. The six top-gated graphene devices (Fig. 1) with dierent geometries are presented in Table I. The density nbg far from the top gated region is set by the back gate acCbg (Vbg −V 0 )

bg where Cbg = 13.6 nF.cm−2 cording to nbg = e is the back gate capacitance per area (from Hall effect measurements on a similar wafer oxidized in same 0 is the furnace run), e is the electron charge, and Vbg gate voltage required to attain zero average density [17]. The density ntg well inside the top gated region is set

V L Vtg d


~ ~



SiO2 n++

~ ~ Vbg


FIG. 1: Schematic diagram of a top-gated graphene device with a 4-probe measurement setup. Graphene sheet is black, metal contact and gates dark grey.

Sample L (nm) w (µm) d (nm) A60 60 4.3 34 B100 100 2.1 42 B220 220 2.1 42 C540 540 1.74 25 A860 860 3.6 34 C1700 1700 1.74 47

hβi 7.6 3.8 3.5 7.9 7.9 1.9

TABLE I: Geometrical properties of the samples: L- top gate length, w- graphene strip width (interface length), and d- top gate dielectric thickness. Same letter for two device labels indicates same graphene sheet. All dimensions were taken by Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) images. The last column shows the parameter β introduced in Ref. [15] averaged on the whole measured voltage range such that nbg < 0 and ntg > 0.

by both back gate and top gate voltages according to Ctg (Vtg −V 0 )

tg ntg = nbg + , where Ctg and Vtg0 are the e 0 top gate counterparts of Cbg and Vbg . Throughout this letter we use the notation ∆ntg = ntg − nbg to identify the contribution of the top gate voltage only, which tunes the potential step height. As described in previous work [8], an asymmetry with respect to ntg = 0 appears in the 4-probe resistance measured across a top gated region as a function of Vtg for xed back gate voltages Vbg (Fig. 2b). This asymmetry quanties the resistance across the potential step in graphene created by the gates. All graphene sheets were produced by successive mechanical exfoliation of graphite deposited onto a layer


4 3 2 1 -10


0 5 Vtg HVL


FIG. 2: a) 4-probe resistance measured on device C540 (see Table I), as a function of Vbg and Vtg . The color scale can be inferred from the cuts shown in b. The densities nbg and ∆ntg 0 = 18.65 V and Ctg = are estimated using Vtg0 = 2.42 V, Vbg −2 107 nF.cm . b) Resistance as a function of Vtg at several values of Vbg . The two bold curves show a clear asymmetry 0 (red) with respect to the peak (ntg = 0) for both Vbg < Vbg 0 and Vbg > Vbg (yellow).

of SiO2 297 nm thick, on a highly n-doped Si substrate, which serves as a global back gate. Metallic leads to graphene sheets were patterned using standard electron beam lithography followed by electron beam evaporation of Ti/Au (5 nm/25 nm thick). After etching into the desired shape using dry oxygen plasma (1:9 O2 :Ar), a layer of Polymethyl Methacrylate was spun and crosslinked using a Scanning Electron Microscope to form a top gate dielectric. In a nal electron beam lithography step, the top gates were patterned on top of the crosslinked layer, followed by electron beam evaporation of Ti/Au (5 nm/45 nm-55 nm thick). For electrical characterization, samples are immersed in liquid Helium at 4 K and four-terminal measurements are made using a lockin amplier at a frequency 32 Hz with a bias current of 100 nA. All samples show typical graphene spectra measured by Raman spectroscopy and exhibit the quantum Hall plateaus characteristic of monolayer graphene when measured in perpendicular magnetic elds up to 8 T at 4 K (see Supplementary material [18]). In order to extract the resistance of the p-n interfaces only, we measure the odd part of resistance Rodd about ntg = 0 [8]:

2Rodd (nbg , ntg ) ≡ R(nbg , ntg ) − R(nbg , −ntg ),


where R is the four-terminal resistance as a function of the densities far from the top gated region and well inside it. Extracting the odd part Rodd from the measured resistance requires an accurate determination of the densities nbg and ntg . This is made by the mea0 surement of three independent quantities Vbg , Vtg0 , and Ctg /Cbg . We carefully measure these quantities by using the quantum Hall measurements at 8 T and electron-hole symmetry[18]. There are two physical interpretations for Rodd depending on the relative magnitude of two length

scales: the mean free path le = eh2 2√σπn (well dened for kle À 1 that is for a conductivity σ À 2e2 /h) and the top gate length L. For L À le , after crossing the rst interface of the barrier carriers lose all momentum information before impinging on the second interface. In this case, the total barrier resistance can be modeled by two p-n junctions in series, so that 2Rodd = 2Rpn where Rpn denotes the resistance of a single p-n interface. For L ¿ le , multiple reections occur between the two interfaces of the barrier, which is predicted to reduce the total barrier resistance to 2Rodd ≈ 1.24Rpn [18]. In both cases the contribution to Rodd of the resistance at the interface in the case nbg × ntg > 0 can be neglected [15].

Dntg H1012 cm-2L 2 4

0 0.6

6 nbg


H1012 cm-2L

2Rodd HkWL

-8 10

Dntg H1012cm-2L 0 4


-0.5 -1.7

0.2 -3.0









Vtg HVL Dntg H1012 cm-2L 2 4 6

0 1.5


bL 2Rodd HkWL

-80 -10 -5 0 5 Vtg HVL

-4 bL R HkWL

Dntg H1012cm-2L -4 0 4 8 80 aL 4 40 0 0 -4 -40

nbg H1012cm-2L



H1012 cm-2L


-0.5 -1.7

0.5 -3.0






4 6 Vtg HVL



FIG. 3: a) The series resistance 2Rodd of the barrier interfaces as a function of Vtg , for several values of Vbg for device A60, corresponding densities nbg are labeled. The experimental 2Rodd (dots) is compared to the clean limit prediction (clean) 2Rpn (solid lines) Eq. (2) and to the disordered limit pre(dis) diction 2Rpn (dashed lines) Eq. (2) . b) Same as a) for device C540.

The resistance Rpn without disorder was derived by

3 Zhang and Fogler [14]: (clean) Rpn = (1.10 ± 0.03)

h e2 w

α−1/6 |n0 |−1/3 , 2


where h is Planck's constant, α = ²re~vF ∼ 0.56 is the dimensionless strength of Coulomb interactions (²r ≈ 3.9 is the average dielectric constant of SiO2 and cross-linked PMMA measured at 4K), and n0 is the slope of the density prole at the position where the density crosses zero (density prole calculated from the classical Laplace equation assuming graphene is a perfect conductor and with realistic gate geometry). Expression (2) goes beyond the linear model used in Ref. [6] by taking into account non-linear screening properties of graphene close to zero density. The prefactor 1.10±0.03 in Eq. (2) is determined numerically for α = 0.6 (hence the dierence with Eq. (2) in Ref. [14] where α ¿ 1), and does not include exchange and correlation eects [19]. Figure 3 compares the experimental curves for 2Rodd as a function of Vtg at several Vbg for samples A60 and C540 to the corre(clean) 0 sponding prediction 2Rpn (voltages Vbg > Vbg give a similar agreement, not shown for clarity). The only (clean) parameters entering in Rpn are the graphene width 0 w and n , which depend on the geometric dimensions of each device (Table 1) and on gate voltages. The agree(clean) for both devices is rement between Rodd and Rpn markable as the model has no free parameters and ne(clean) diverges glects disorder. However for ntg → 0, Rpn since n0 goes to zero. At such low densities, we will see that disorder dominates transport since density uctuations along the sheet are bigger than ntg . Surprisingly, at higher densities, transport through p-n junctions still obeys Eq. (2) even though √ the mean free path le is quite small (15 − 20 nm × n, with n in units of 1012 cm−2 ) compared to the length over which the potential changes (100 − 400 nm). We discussed above the two expected regimes L À le for which 2Rodd = 2Rpn and L ¿ le for which 2Rodd ≈ 1.24Rpn . At xed mean free path (all our gated devices have similar mobility [18]), one might then expect to observe a transition from one regime to another as a function of top gate length L. For each device we calculate the (clean) ratio η (clean) = 2Rodd /2Rpn , for all measured Vbg and (clean) Vtg . The histogram of η is peaked at a certain value (clean) ηpeak with small peak width [18]. For all devices except C1700, η (clean) is close to or a bit lower than 1(Fig. 4), which indicates that the resistances of both interfaces of the potential barrier simply add in series. For the shortest device where le ≈ L, η gets closer to the value corresponding to multiple reections between interfaces. The other devices (except C1700) have almost the same value of η even though their geometries are very dierent (see Table I). This common value is slightly below 1 possibly due to eects of exchange and correlation. Transport through a single p-n junction is therefore less sensitive to

disorder than transport between the two interfaces of a potential barrier. Fogler et al. introduced the parameter −3 β = n0 ni 2 to describe the transition clean/disordered in a single p-n junction, where ni is related to the moe bility by ni = µh [15]. According to Ref. [15], Eq. (2) applies when β À 1 whereas transport is diusive when β ¿ 1. In the following, we rene this transition threshold experimentally. From Fig. 4 and Table 1, it seems that transport is indeed well described by Eq. (2) when β > 3.5 but more poorly for C1700 where β . 2. In the diusive regime for Rpn , the resistance depends on the local resistivity ρ(n) (measured for a uniform density at Vtg = Vtg0 ) at each position x: Z 1 (dis) = 2Rpn ρ(n(nbg , ntg , x)) − ρ(n(nbg , −ntg , x))dx w (3) This regime does not describe our measurements prop1.5




ΗHcleanL 0.5



le`L à






200 500 L HnmL

1000 2000

(clean) FIG. 4: Symbols: ratio η (clean) = Rodd /Rpn as a function of top gate length L for the devices of Table 1. The vertical lines show the width of the histogram of η (clean) for densities such that |nbg |,|ntg | > 1012 cm−2 . The dashed line at η = 1 corresponds to perfect agreement between theory and experiment, in the case where the total resistance is the sum of the resistances of two p-n interfaces in series. The dashed line at η ≈ 0.62 corresponds to the case where multiple reections between interfaces occur (2Rodd ≈ 1.24Rpn see text).

erly and leads to a resistance overall lower than observed (Fig. 3 and Ref. [18]). The sample C1700 might be in an intermediate regime between clean and disordered, since Rodd is larger than would be expected in either limit [18]. In a recent experiment (sample S3 in Ref. [12]), where suspended top gates were used, the agreement with Eq. (3) was better (disordered limit). This is due to a much larger distance between the top gate and the graphene sheet and much smaller density range than in the present work, likely due to mechanical instability of the top gate when applying higher voltages. These two factors considerably reduce n0 (around 100 times), which is not fully balanced by a cleaner graphene (ni only 2-5 times smaller for Ref. [12]). We estimate hβi ≈ 0.5 for device S3 reported in Ref. [12]. If the issue of mechanical stability can be resolved, enabling the use of large

Gpn (B) = Gpn (0)(1 − (B/B? )2 )3/4 ,


where Gpn (0) is the conductance at zero eld. Note that this derivation uses a naive linear approximation for the density prole. Since Eq. (4) is a prediction for the conductance of a single p-n interface and le ¿ L in both −1 devices, Rodd can be interpreted as the conductance of a single p-n interface. For several gate voltages such that −1 nbg = −ntg , we measure Rodd as a function of magnetic eld B (Fig. 5) in two devices C540 and C1700 on the same graphene sheet but with dierent top gate dielectric thickness d (Table 1). In contrast to the previous model at zero eld, where no free parameter was used, the nite eld model leading to Eq. (4) needs one t parameter l. Therefore, we use the experimental Gpn (0) and the best parameter l which ts all curves within the same device. The parameters l for C540 and C1700 are found to be 65 nm and 55 nm respectively, whereas C1700 has the thicker dielectric (see Table I). The fact that l is smaller for the thicker dielectric is inconsistent, and further theoretical work is needed to explain this discrepancy. In conclusion, we show strong evidence for Klein tunneling across potential steps in graphene with a quantitative agreement to a model with no free parameter. The discrepancy between experiment and model is 15%,


-4.0×1012 cm-2 -3.0×1012 cm-2 -2.0×1012 cm-2 -1.0×1012 cm-2



2.0 bL 1.5 1.0

1. 0.

-2.0×1012 cm-2 -1.5×1012 cm-2 12 -1.0×1012 cm-2 -0.5×10 cm-2

H2Rodd L-1 HmSL

electric elds between top gate and graphene and thus higher densities, suspended devices should be promising for clean transport across the whole device [1, 2]. From the present work and from the result of Ref. [12], one can see that the transition between clean and disordered transport in p-n junctions seems to be very sharp: for β > 3.5 the clean limit applies, for β < 0.5 the disordered limit applies and in between neither limit is valid. Moreover as mentioned earlier, for any top-gated sample transport is in the disordered limit close to ntg ≈ 0, where density uctuations are bigger than ntg . Therefore there is a cross-over between disordered and clean regimes as a function of Vtg in any curve Rodd , as can be seen on Fig. 3. Finally, disorder causes uctuations in the resistance as a function of Vtg (Fig. 2b). These uctuations are largest for small densities nbg ≤ ni because the slope n0 changes most as a function of ntg in this regime [18]. These uctuations are not due to interference between multiple reections at barrier interfaces since we have shown that L À le (Fig. 4). Being sharply dependent on angle of incidence, transport through potential steps in graphene should be sensitive to the presence of a magnetic eld, which bends electron trajectories. In the clean limit, Shytov et al. predicted how a low magnetic eld B changes the conductance across a potential step [16]. For instance, the angle at which carriers are transmittedp perfectly is given by arcsin(B/B? ) where B? = ~(el)−1 π∆ntg and l is the distance over which the potential rises, which is proportional to the thickness d of the oxide. For nbg = −ntg the predicted interface conductance is

H2RoddL-1 HmSL





2 3 4 B HTL






2 3 4 B HTL


FIG. 5: a) (Rodd )−1 for device C540 as a function of magnetic eld B for several density proles with nbg = −ntg (nbg is labeled). The theoretical curves using Eq. (4) (solid lines) are tted with l = 65 nm to the experimental curves (dots).b) Same as a) for device C1700. The tting parameter used was l = 55 nm.

which is smaller than the error that might be expected due to neglecting exchange and correlation eects. The crossover between clean and disordered regimes occurs as a function of the parameter β around 1 as predicted by Fogler et al. [15]. Moreover the shortest top gated device might get closer to ballistic transport between two potential steps, as observed through the decrease of η (clean) . More work is needed to go into this regime, and also measure directly the angle dependence of Klein tunneling [6]. We thank J. A. Sulpizio for helping with fabrication and characterization, and D. Novikov, M. Fogler, and L. Levitov for enlightening discussions. This work was supported by the MARCO/FENA program and the Ofce of Naval Research contract N00014-02-1-0986. N. Stander was supported by a William R. and Sara Hart Kimball Stanford Graduate Fellowship. Work was performed in part at the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility of NNIN supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant ECS-9731293. Critical equipment (SEM,AFM) was obtained partly on Air Force Grant FA9550-04-1-0384 and F49620-03-1-0256.

Corresponding author : [email protected] [1] K. I. Bolotin, K. J. Sikes, Z. Jiang, G. Fundenberg, J. Hone, P. Kim, and H. L. Stormer, Sol. Stat. Comm. 146, 351-355 (2008). [2] X. Du, I. Skachko, A. Barker and E.Y. Andrei, condmat/0802.2933 (2008). [3] Y. Hernandez et al. cond-mat/0805.2850 (2008). [4] A. H. C. Neto, F. Guinea, N. M. R. Peres, K. S. Novoselov, and A. K. Geim, Rev. Mod. Phys. (to be published). [5] M. I. Katsnelson, K. S. Novoselov, and A. K. Geim, Nat. Phys. 2, 620 (2006). [6] V. V. Cheianov and V. I. Fal'ko, Phys. Rev. B 74, 041403 (2006). [7] C. Beenakker, cond-mat/0710.3848


5 [8] B. Huard, J. A. Sulpizio, N. Stander, K. Todd, B. Yang, and D. Goldhaber-Gordon, Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 236803 (2007). [9] J. R. Williams, L. DiCarlo, C. M. Marcus, Science 317, 638 (2007). [10] B. Özyilmaz, P. Jarillo-Herrero, D. Efetov, D. Abanin, P. Kim, Phys. Rev. Lett 99, 166804 (2007). [11] Jeroen B. Oostinga, Hubert B. Heersche, Xinglan Liu, Alberto F. Morpurgo, Lieven M. K. Vandersypen, Nature Materials 7, 151 (2008). [12] R. V. Gorbachev et al., cond-mat/0804.2081 (2008). [13] Gang Liu, Jairo Valesco Jr, Wenzhong Bao, Chun

Ning Lau, Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 203103 (2008). [14] L. M. Zhang and M. M. Fogler, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 116804 (2008). [15] M. M. Fogler, D. S. Novikov, L. I. Glazman, and B. I. Shklovskii, Phys. Rev. B 77, 075420 (2008). [16] A. V. Shytov, Nan Gu, and L. S. Levitov condmat/0708.308 (2008). [17] J. H. Chen, C. Jang, M. S. Fuhrer, E. D. Williams, M. Ishigami, Nature Physics 4, 377 (2008). [18] See Supplementary material online EPAPS. [19] M. M. Fogler, private communication.

Observation of Klein tunneling in graphene pn junctions

terization, samples are immersed in liquid Helium at 4 K and four-terminal measurements are made using a lock- in amplifier at a frequency 32 Hz with a bias current of. 100 nA. All samples show typical graphene spectra mea- sured by Raman spectroscopy and exhibit the quantum. Hall plateaus characteristic of monolayer ...

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