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When two mesh screens are overlaid, beautiful patterns appear when one screen is offset. These “moiré patterns” have long intrigued artists, scientists and mathematicians and have found applications in printing, fashion and banknotes.

Now, a Rutgers-led team has paved the way to solving one of the most enduring mysteries in materials physics by discovering that in the presence of a moiré pattern in graphene, electrons organize themselves into stripes, like soldiers in formation.

Their findings, published in the journal Nature, 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.

“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.

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Category: Science