In 2018, the physics world was set ablaze with the discovery that when an ultrathin layer of carbon, called graphene, is stacked and twisted to a “magic angle,” that new double layered structure converts into a superconductor, allowing electricity to flow without resistance or energy waste. Now, in a literal twist, Harvard scientists have expanded on that superconducting system by adding a third layer and rotating it, opening the door for continued advancements in graphene-based superconductivity.
The work is described in a new paper in Science and can one day help lead toward superconductors that operate at higher or even close to room temperature. These superconductors are considered the holy grail of condensed matter physics since they would allow for tremendous technological revolutions in many areas including electricity transmission, transportation, and quantum computing. Most superconductors today, including the double layered graphene structure, work only at ultracold temperatures.
“Superconductivity in twisted graphene provides physicists with an experimentally controllable and theoretically accessible model system where they can play with the system’s properties to decode the secrets of high temperature superconductivity,” said one of the paper’s co-lead authors Andrew Zimmerman, a postdoctoral researcher in working in the lab of Harvard physicist Philip Kim.
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