Graphene discovery could help develop room temperature superconductors

A research team led by Rutgers University has discovered that in the presence of a moiré pattern in graphene, electrons organize themselves into stripes, like soldiers in formation. The team's findings could help in the search for quantum materials, such as superconductors, that would work at room temperature. Such materials would dramatically reduce energy consumption by making power transmission and electronic devices more efficient.

Electrons organize in lines in magic layer graphene imageLeft: image shows a moiré pattern in "magic angle" twisted bilayer graphene. Right: Scanning tunneling charge spectroscopy, shows correlated electrons. Credit: Rutgers University

"Our findings provide an essential clue to the mystery connecting a form of graphene, called twisted bilayer graphene, to superconductors that could work at room temperature," said senior author Eva Y. Andrei, Board of Governors professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

Stanford team finds novel form of magnetism in twisted bi-layer graphene

Stanford physicists recently observed a novel form of magnetism, predicted but never seen before, that is generated when two graphene sheets are carefully stacked and rotated to a special angle. The researchers suggest the magnetism, called orbital ferromagnetism, could prove useful for certain applications, such as quantum computing.

bi-layer graphene between hBN gives off orbital ferromagnetism imageOptical micrograph of the assembled stacked structure, which consists of two graphene sheets sandwiched between two protective layers made of hexagonal boron nitride. (Image: Aaron Sharpe)

“We were not aiming for magnetism. We found what may be the most exciting thing in my career to date through partially targeted and partially accidental exploration,” said study leader David Goldhaber-Gordon, a professor of physics at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences. “Our discovery shows that the most interesting things turn out to be surprises sometimes.”

Unique device that combines graphene and boron nitride can switch from superconducting to insulating

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have designed a graphene device that switches from a superconducting material to an insulator and back again to a superconductor — all with a flip of a switch. The team shared that the device exhibits this unique versatility while being thinner than a human hair.

Graphene and hBN device moves from insulating to superconducting imageViews of the trilayer graphene/boron nitride heterostructure device as seen through an optical microscope. The gold, nanofabricated electric contacts are shown in yellow; the silicon dioxide/silicon substrate is shown in brown and the boron nitride flakes

"Usually, when someone wants to study how electrons interact with each other in a superconducting quantum phase versus an insulating phase, they would need to look at different materials. With our system, you can study both the superconductivity phase and the insulating phase in one place," said Guorui Chen, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Feng Wang, who led the study. Wang, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division, is also a UC Berkeley physics professor.

Researchers provide a new twist on graphene's superconductivity

A team of researchers led by Columbia University have developed a new method to finely tune adjacent layers of graphene, in a research that provides new insights into the physics underlying the material's intriguing characteristics.

Researchers provide a new twist on graphene's superconductivity image

"Our work demonstrates new ways to induce superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene, in particular, achieved by applying pressure," said Cory Dean, assistant professor of physics at Columbia and the study's principal investigator. "It also provides critical first confirmation of last year's MIT results - that bilayer graphene can exhibit electronic properties when twisted at an angle - and furthers our understanding of the system, which is extremely important for this new field of research".

Artificial magnetic field produces exotic behavior in graphene sheets

A study by Brazilian physicist Aline Ramires with Jose Lado, a Spanish-born researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), showed that a simple sheet of graphene has fascinating properties due to a quantum phenomenon in its electron structure called Dirac cones. The system becomes even more interesting if it comprises two superimposed graphene sheets, and one is very slightly turned in its own plane so that the holes in the two carbon lattices no longer completely coincide. For specific angles of twist, the bilayer graphene system displays exotic properties such as superconductivity.

The researchers found that the application of an electrical field to such a system produces an effect identical to that of an extremely intense magnetic field applied to two aligned graphene sheets. "I performed the analysis, and it was computationally verified by Lado," Ramires said. "It enables graphene's electronic properties to be controlled by means of electrical fields, generating artificial but effective magnetic fields with far greater magnitudes than those of the real magnetic fields that can be applied."