Cascade of electronic transitions in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene

Magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene (MATBG) exhibits a rich variety of electronic states, including correlated insulators, superconductors, and topological phases. Understanding the microscopic mechanisms responsible for these phases requires determining the interplay between electron-electron interactions and quantum degeneracy due to spin and valley degrees of freedom. Signatures of strong electron-electron correlations have been observed at partial fillings of the flat electronic bands in recent spectroscopic measurements. Transport experiments have shown changes in the Landau level degeneracy at fillings corresponding to an integer number of electrons per moiré unit cell. However, the interplay between interaction effects and the degeneracy of the system is currently unclear. Using high-resolution scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), we observed a cascade of transitions in the spectroscopic properties of MATBG as a function of electron filling. We find distinct changes in the chemical potential and a rearrangement of the low-energy excitations at each integer filling of the moiré flat bands. These spectroscopic features are a direct consequence of Coulomb interactions, which split the degenerate flat bands into Hubbard sub-bands. We find these interactions, the strength of which we can extract experimentally, to be surprisingly sensitive to the presence of a perpendicular magnetic field, which strongly modifies the spectroscopic transitions. The cascade of transitions we report here characterizes the correlated high-temperature parent phase from which various insulating and superconducting ground-state phases emerge at low temperatures in MATBG.

Electrons strongly interact in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene.
Electrons strongly interact in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene.

D. WongK. P. NuckollsM. OhB. LianY. XieS. JeonK. WatanabeT. TaniguchiB. A. Bernevig and A. Yazdani, “Cascade of  transitions between the correlated electronic states of magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene,” Nature 582, 198-202 (2020). arXiv:1912.06145 (2019). (Article) /  Free Link: SharedIt

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