Importance of σ Bonding Electrons for the Accurate Description of Electron Correlation in Graphene

Huihuo Zheng, Yu Gan, Peter Abbamonte, Lucas K. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electron correlation in graphene is unique because of the interplay between the Dirac cone dispersion of π electrons and long-range Coulomb interaction. Because of the zero density of states at Fermi level, the random phase approximation predicts no metallic screening at long distance and low energy, so one might expect that graphene should be a poorly screened system. However, empirically graphene is a weakly interacting semimetal, which leads to the question of how electron correlations take place in graphene at different length scales. We address this question by computing the equal time and dynamic structure factor S(q) and S(q,ω) of freestanding graphene using ab initio fixed-node diffusion Monte Carlo simulations and the random phase approximation. We find that the σ electrons contribute strongly to S(q,ω) for relevant experimental values of ω even at distances up to around 80 Å. These findings illustrate how the emergent physics from underlying Coulomb interactions results in the observed weakly correlated semimetal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number166402
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 20 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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