Researchers find surprising electron interaction in ‘magic-angle’ graphene

A research team, led by Brown University physicists, has found a new way to precisely probe the nature of the superconducting state in magic-angle graphene. The technique enables researchers to manipulate the repulsive force - the Coulomb interaction - in the system. In their recent study, the researchers showed that magic-angle superconductivity grows more robust when Coulomb interaction is reduced, which could be an important piece of information in understanding how this superconductor works.

"This is the first time anyone has demonstrated that you can directly manipulate the strength of Coulomb interaction in a strongly correlated electronic system," said Jia Li, an assistant professor of physics at Brown and corresponding author of the research. "Superconductivity is driven by the interactions between electrons, so when we can manipulate that interaction, it tells us something really important about that system. In this case, demonstrating that weaker Coulomb interaction strengthens superconductivity provides an important new theoretical constraint on this system."

Researchers create tunable superconductivity in magic-angle twisted trilayer graphene

When two sheets of graphene are stacked atop each other at just the right angle, the layered structure morphs into an unconventional superconductor, allowing electric currents to pass through without resistance or wasted energy. This “magic-angle” transformation in bilayer graphene was observed for the first time in 2018 in the group of Pablo Jarillo-Herrero at MIT. Since then, scientists have searched for other materials that can be similarly twisted into superconductivity, but for the most part, no other twisted material has exhibited superconductivity other than the original twisted bilayer graphene.

Stacking order imageIllustrations of A-tw-A stacking (a) and A-tw-B stacking (b). Image from Nature

In a recent paper, Jarillo-Herrero and his group reported observing superconductivity in a sandwich of three graphene sheets, the middle layer of which is twisted at a new angle with respect to the outer layers. This new trilayer configuration reportedly exhibits superconductivity that is more robust than its bilayer counterpart.

Researchers track the path of calcium atoms added to graphene

Researchers from Australia's Monash University, U.S Naval Research Laboratory, University of Maryland and IMDEA Nanociencia in Spain have confirmed what actually happens to calcium atoms that are added to graphene in order to create a superconductor: surprisingly, the calcium goes underneath both the upper graphene sheet and a lower ‘buffer’ sheet, ‘floating’ the graphene on a bed of calcium atoms.

Injecting calcium into graphene creates a superconductor, but where does the calcium actually end up image

Superconducting calcium-injected graphene holds great promise for energy-efficient electronics and transparent electronics.

New work shows that superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene can exist away from the magic angle

New study by Caltech shows that superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene can exist away from the magic angle when coupled to a two-dimensional semiconductor

In 2018, researchers made the surprising discovery that when you layer two sheets of single-atom-thick graphene atop one another and rotate them by precisely 1.05 degrees with respect to one another, the resulting bilayer material takes on new properties: when the density of electrons in the material is increased through the application of a voltage on a nearby electrode, it becomes a superconductor—electrons can flow freely through the material, without resistance. However, with a slight change in electron density, the bilayer becomes an insulator and prevents the flow of electrons.

Princeton team detects a cascade of electronic transitions in "magic-angle" twisted bilayer graphene

A team of researchers at Princeton has looked for the origins of the unusual behavior known as magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene, and detected signatures of a cascade of energy transitions that could help explain how superconductivity arises in this material.

"This study shows that the electrons in magic-angle graphene are in a highly correlated state even before the material becomes superconducting, "said Ali Yazdani, Professor of Physics and the leader of the team that made the discovery. "The sudden shift of energies when we add or remove an electron in this experiment provides a direct measurement of the strength of the interaction between the electrons."