Mach-Zehnder-like interferometry with graphene nanoribbon networks

Sofia Sanz*, Nick Papior, Géza Giedke, Daniel Sánchez-Portal, Mads Brandbyge, Thomas Frederiksen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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We study theoretically electron interference in a Mach-Zehnder-like geometry formed by four zigzag graphene nanoribbons arranged in parallel pairs, one on top of the other, such that they form intersection angles of 60∘. Depending on the interribbon separation, each intersection can be tuned to act either as an electron beam splitter or as a mirror, enabling tuneable circuitry with interfering pathways. Based on the mean-field Hubbard model and Green's function techniques, we evaluate the electron transport properties of such eight-terminal devices and identify pairs of terminals that are subject to self-interference. We further show that the scattering matrix formalism in the approximation of independent scattering at the four individual junctions provides accurate results as compared with the Green's function description, allowing for a simple interpretation of the interference process between two dominant pathways. This enables us to characterize the device sensitivity to phase shifts from an external magnetic flux according to the Aharonov-Bohm effect as well as from small geometric variations in the two path lengths. The proposed devices could find applications as magnetic field sensors and as detectors of phase shifts induced by local scatterers on the different segments, such as adsorbates, impurities or defects. The setup could also be used to create and study quantum entanglement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number374001
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number37
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Green’s functions, scattering matrix formalism
  • Electron quantum optics
  • Graphene nanoribbons
  • Interferometry
  • Mean-field Hubbard model
  • Quantum transport
  • Spintronics


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