Just over a year after researchers at MIT stunned the physics world with the discovery of the “magic angle” for stacked sheets of graphene, researchers at Caltech have directly observed and studied this material using a scanning tunneling microscope that can image electronic properties at atomic-length scales.
Understanding the “magic angle”—a specific orientation between the stacked graphene that yields special electric properties—could pave the way to realizing the dream of room-temperature superconductors, which could transmit enormous electric currents while producing zero heat.
But first: what is the magic angle? Say you take two sheets of graphene—single-atom thick lattices of carbon atoms—and lay one atop the other to create a bilayer material, then twist one of the sheets of graphene to shift their orientation to one another. As the orientation shifts, the electronic properties of the bilayer material will change with it. In early 2018, researchers at MIT discovered that, at a certain orientation (about 1.1 degrees of relative twist), the bilayer material, surprisingly, becomes superconducting and moreover, the superconducting properties can be controlled with the electric fields. Their discovery launched a new field of research into magic angle-oriented graphene, known as “twistronics.”
Engineers and physicists at Caltech have built upon that discovery by generating an image of the atomic structure and electronic properties of magic angle-twisted graphene, yielding new insight into the phenomenon by offering a more direct way of studying it. Read full article here.
About the National Graphene Association (NGA)
The National Graphene Association is the main organization and body in the U.S. advocating and promoting the commercialization of graphene. NGA is focused on addressing critical issues such as policy and standards development that will result in effective integration of graphene and graphene-based materials globally. NGA brings together current and future graphene stakeholders — entrepreneurs, companies, researchers, developers and suppliers, investors, venture capitalists, and government agencies — to drive innovation, and to promote and facilitate the commercialization of graphene products and technologies. Join NGA here.