Optical and magnetic measurements of a levitated, gyroscopically stabilized graphene nanoplatelet

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I discuss the design and operation of a system for levitating a charged, $\mu$m-scale, multilayer graphene nanoplatelet in a quadrupole electric field trap in high vacuum. Levitation decouples the platelet from its environment and enables sensitive mechanical and magnetic measurements.

First, I describe a method of generating and trapping the nanoplatelets. The platelets are generated via liquid exfoliation of graphite pellets and charged via electrospray ionization. Individual platelets are trapped at a pressure of several hundred mTorr and transferred to a trap in a second chamber, which is pumped to UHV pressures for further study. All measurements of the trapped platelet's motion are performed via optical scattering.

Second, I present a method of gyroscopically stabilizing the levitated platelet. The rotation frequency of the platelet is locked to an applied radio frequency (rf) electric field $\bm{E}{\mathrm{rf}}$. Over time, frequency-locking stabilizes the platelet so that its axis of rotation is normal to the platelet and perpendicular to $\bm{E}{\mathrm{rf}}$.

Finally, I present optical data on the interaction of a multilayer graphene platelet with an applied magnetic field. The stabilized nanoplatelet is extremely sensitive to external torques, and its low-frequency dynamics are determined by an applied magnetic field. Two mechanisms of interaction are observed: a diamagnetic polarizability and a magnetic moment proportional to the frequency of rotation. A model is constructed to describe this data, and experimental values are compared to theory.