Lazy electrons in graphene


Mohanty, V. & Heller, E.J. Lazy electrons in graphene. PNAS (2019).


Within a tight-binding approximation, we numerically determine the time evolution of graphene electronic states in the presence of classically vibrating nuclei. There is no reliance on the Born–Oppenheimer approximation within the p-orbital tight-binding basis, although our approximation is “atomically adiabatic”: the basis p-orbitals are taken to follow nuclear positions. Our calculations show that the strict adiabatic Born–Oppenheimer approximation fails badly. We find that a diabatic (lazy electrons responding weakly to nuclear distortions) Born–Oppenheimer model provides a much more accurate picture and suggests a generalized many-body Bloch orbital-nuclear basis set for describing electron–phonon interactions in graphene.

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