Magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene. The stunning emergence of a new type of superconductivity with the mere twist of a carbon sheet has left physicists giddy, and its discoverer nearly overwhelmed.

“Jarillo-Herrero has never been a slacker, but his activity has jumped several levels since his dramatic announcement in March 2018 that his lab at MIT had found superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene — a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon crystal dropped on another one, and then rotated to leave the two layers slightly askew.
The discovery has been the biggest surprise to hit the solid-state physics field since the 2004 Nobel Prize–winning discovery that an intact sheet of carbon atoms — graphene — could be lifted off a block of graphite with a piece of Scotch tape. And it has ignited a frenzied race among condensed-matter physicists to explore, explain and extend the MIT results, which have since been duplicated in several labs.
The observation of superconductivity has created an unexpected playground for physicists. The practical goals are obvious: to illuminate a path to higher-temperature superconductivity, to inspire new types of devices that might revolutionize electronics, or perhaps even to hasten the arrival of quantum computers. But more subtly, and perhaps more important, the discovery has given scientists a relatively simple platform for exploring exotic quantum effects…. ”
“Physicists are excited about magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene not because it’s likely to be a practical superconductor but because they’re convinced it can illuminate the mysterious properties of superconductivity itself.”…
Over 100 papers have popped up on the scientific preprint server that offer theories to explain what might be going on in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene.
Now that Jarillo-Herrero’s group has proven that magic angles are a thing, physicists are trying to apply the twistronics approach to other configurations of graphene.

Read full story With a Simple Twist, a ‘Magic’ Material Is Now the Big Thing in Physics

Source: Quanta Magazine
Image: Pablo Jarillo-Herrero’s work on twisted bilayer graphene has colleagues openly speculating about a Nobel Prize. “We try to be adventurous in this lab, and we have a good sense of smell,” he said. “This felt right.” Photo by Bryce Vickmark

See also Wired Magazine

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