Characteristics of level-spacing statistics in chaotic graphene billiards

Liang Huang, Ying-Cheng Lai, Celso Grebogi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A fundamental result in nonrelativistic quantum nonlinear dynamics is that the spectral statistics of quantum systems that possess no geometric symmetry, but whose classical dynamics are chaotic, are described by those of the Gaussian orthogonal ensemble (GOE) or the Gaussian unitary ensemble (GUE), in the presence or absence of time-reversal symmetry, respectively. For massless spin-half particles such as neutrinos in relativistic quantum mechanics in a chaotic billiard, the seminal work of Berry and Mondragon established the GUE nature of the level-spacing statistics, due to the combination of the chirality of Dirac particles and the confinement, which breaks the time-reversal symmetry. A question is whether the GOE or the GUE statistics can be observed in experimentally accessible, relativistic quantum systems. We demonstrate, using graphene confinements in which the quasiparticle motions are governed by the Dirac equation in the low-energy regime, that the level-spacing statistics are persistently those of GOE random matrices. We present extensive numerical evidence obtained from the tight-binding approach and a physical explanation for the GOE statistics. We also find that the presence of a weak magnetic field switches the statistics to those of GUE. For a strong magnetic field, Landau levels become influential, causing the level-spacing distribution to deviate markedly from the random-matrix predictions. Issues addressed also include the effects of a number of realistic factors on level-spacing statistics such as next nearest-neighbor interactions, different lattice orientations, enhanced hopping energy for atoms on the boundary, and staggered potential due to graphene-substrate interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number013102
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 4 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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