Wurm, Jürgen and Wimmer, Michael and Richter, Klaus
Symmetries and the conductance of graphene nanoribbons with long-range disorder.
Phys Rev B 85, p. 245418.
Other URL: http://prb.aps.org/abstract/PRB/v85/i24/e245418, http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.5969
We study the conductance of graphene nanoribbons with long-range disorder. Due to the absence of intervalley scattering from the disorder potential, time-reversal symmetry (TRS) can be effectively broken even without a magnetic field, depending on the type of ribbon edge. Even though armchair edges generally mix valleys, we show that metallic armchair nanoribbons possess a hidden pseudovalley structure and effectively broken TRS. In contrast, semiconducting armchair nanoribbons inevitably mix valleys and restore TRS. As a result, in strong disorder metallic armchair ribbons exhibit a perfectly conducting channel, but semiconducting armchair ribbons ordinary localization. TRS is also effectively broken in zigzag nanoribbons in the absence of valley mixing. However, we show that intervalley scattering in zigzag ribbons is significantly enhanced and TRS is restored even for smooth disorder, if the Fermi energy is smaller than the potential amplitude. The symmetry properties of disordered nanoribbons are also reflected in their conductance in the diffusive regime. In particular, we find suppression of weak localization and an enhancement of conductance fluctuations in metallic armchair and zigzag ribbons without valley mixing. In contrast, semiconducting armchair and zigzag ribbons with valley mixing exhibit weak localization behavior.