Geometric effects on the electronic structure of curved nanotubes and curved graphene: the case of the helix, catenary, helicoid, and catenoid
Departamento de Física, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, 52171-900, Recife, PE, Brazil
2 Departamento de Matemática, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, 52171-900, Recife, PE, Brazil
Accepted: 4 May 2021
Published online: 17 May 2021
Since electrons in a ballistic regime perceive a carbon nanotube or a graphene layer structure as a continuous medium, we can use the study of the quantum dynamics of one electron constrained to a curve or surface to obtain a qualitative description of the conduction electrons’ behavior. The confinement process of a quantum particle to a curve or surface leads us, in the so-called confining potential formalism, to a geometry-induced potential in the effective Schrödinger equation. With these considerations, this work aims to study in detail the consequences of constraining a quantum particle to a helix, catenary, helicoid, or catenoid, exploring the relations between these curves and surfaces using differential geometry. Initially, we use the variational method to estimate the energy of the particle in its ground state, and thus, we obtain better approximations with the use of the confluent Heun function through numerical calculations. Thus, we conclude that a quantum particle constrained to an infinite helix has its angular momentum quantized due to the geometry of the curve, while in the cases of the catenary, helicoid, and catenoid the particle can be found either in a single bound state or in excited states which constitute a continuous energy band. Additionally, we propose measurements of physical observables capable of discriminating the topologies of the studied surfaces, in the context of topological metrology.
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021