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We develop an effectivemedium approach to characterize the propagation of matterwaves in periodic structures, such as graphene or semiconductor superlattices. It is proven that the time evolution of the states that are not more localized in space than the characteristic period of the structure can be described exactly through an effective Hamiltonian, and that the electronic band structure of the system can be exactly determined from the effective Hamiltonian. As an illustration of the application of the method, we characterize the mesoscopic response of graphene superlattices. It is shown that these structures may be described using simply two effective parameters: a dispersive potential, and an anisotropy tensor that characterizes the pseudospin. Our model predicts that a graphene superlattice characterized by an indefinite anisotropy tensor—such that the eigenvalues of the tensor have opposite signs—may permit the perfect tunneling of all the stationary states with a specific value of the energy when it is paired with a dual graphene superlattice with a positive definite anisotropy tensor.
Date Posted: 31 May 2012
This document has been peer reviewed.