Curvature-induced electron localization in developable Möbius-like nanostructures

A.P. Korte & G.H.M. van der Heijden

We study curvature effects and localization of non-interacting electrons confined to developable one-sided elastic sheets motivated by recent nanostructured origami techniques for creating and folding extremely thin membrane structures. The most famous one-sided sheet is the Möbius strip but the theory we develop allows for arbitrary linking number. Unlike previous work in the literature we do not assume a shape for the elastic structures. Rather, we find the shape by minimizing the elastic energy, i.e., solving the Euler­Lagrange equations for the bending energy functional. This shape varies with the aspect ratio of the sheet and affects the potential experienced by the particles. Depending on the link there is a number of singular points on the edge of the structure where the bending energy density goes to infinity, leading to deep potential wells. The inverse participation ratio is used to show that electrons are increasingly localized to the higher-curvature regions of the higher-width structures, where sharp creases radiating out from the singular points could form channels for particle transport. Our geometric formulation could be used to study transport properties of Möbius strips and other components in nanoscale devices.

J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 21, 495301 (2009)