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Imaging viscous flow of the Dirac fluid in graphene

TitleImaging viscous flow of the Dirac fluid in graphene
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsM. J. H. Ku, T. X. Zhou, Q. Li, Y. J. Shin, J. K. Shi, C. Burch, L. E. Anderson, A. T. Pierce, Y. Xie, A. Hamo, U. Vool, H. Zhang, F. Casola, T. Taniguchi, K. Watanabe, M. M. Fogler, P. Kim, A. Yacoby, and R. L. Walsworth
Date PublishedJul

The electron–hole plasma in charge-neutral graphene is predicted to realize a quantum critical system in which electrical transport features a universal hydrodynamic description, even at room temperature1,2. This quantum critical `Dirac fluid' is expected to have a shear viscosity close to a minimum bound3,4, with an interparticle scattering rate saturating1 at the Planckian time, the shortest possible timescale for particles to relax. Although electrical transport measurements at finite carrier density are consistent with hydrodynamic electron flow in graphene5–8, a clear demonstration of viscous flow at the charge-neutrality point remains elusive. Here we directly image viscous Dirac fluid flow in graphene at room temperature by measuring the associated stray magnetic field. Nanoscale magnetic imaging is performed using quantum spin magnetometers realized with nitrogen vacancy centres in diamond. Scanning single-spin and wide-field magnetometry reveal a parabolic Poiseuille profile for electron flow in a high-mobility graphene channel near the charge-neutrality point, establishing the viscous transport of the Dirac fluid. This measurement is in contrast to the conventional uniform flow profile imaged in a metallic conductor and also in a low-mobility graphene channel. Via combined imaging and transport measurements, we obtain viscosity and scattering rates, and observe that these quantities are comparable to the universal values expected at quantum criticality. This finding establishes a nearly ideal electron fluid in charge-neutral, high-mobility graphene at room temperature4. Our results will enable the study of hydrodynamic transport in quantum critical fluids relevant to strongly correlated electrons in high-temperature superconductors9. This work also highlights the capability of quantum spin magnetometers to probe correlated electronic phenomena at the nanoscale.