Plasmon Reflections by Topological Electronic Boundaries in Bilayer Graphene

B.-Y. Jiang, G.-X. Ni, Z. Addison, J. K. Shi, X. Liu, S. Y. F. Zhao, P. Kim, E. J. Mele, D. N. Basov and M. M. Fogler

Nanoletters, Article ASAP (2017)
Domain walls separating regions of AB and BA interlayer stacking in bilayer graphene have attracted attention as novel examples of structural solitons, topological electronic boundaries, and nanoscale plasmonic scatterers. We show that strong coupling of domain walls to surface plasmons observed in infrared nanoimaging experiments is due to topological chiral modes confined to the walls. The optical transitions among these chiral modes and the band continua enhance the local conductivity, which leads to plasmon reflection by the domain walls. The imaging reveals two kinds of plasmonic standing-wave interference patterns, which we attribute to shear and tensile domain walls. We compute the electronic structure of both wall varieties and show that the tensile wall contains additional confined bands which produce a structure-specific contrast of the local conductivity, in agreement with the experiment. The coupling between the confined modes and the surface plasmon scattering unveiled in this work is expected to be common to other topological electronic boundaries found in van der Waals materials. This coupling provides a qualitatively new pathway toward controlling plasmons in nanostructures.