Last year, scientists demonstrated that twisted bilayer graphene—a material made of two atom-thin sheets of carbon with a slight twist—can exhibit alternating superconducting and insulating regions. Now, a new study in the journal Nature by scientists from Spain, the U.S., China and Japan shows that superconductivity can be turned on or off with a small voltage change, increasing its usefulness for electronic devices.

"It's kind of a holy grail of physics to create a material that has superconductivity at room temperature," University of Texas at Austin physicist Allan MacDonald said. "So that's part of the motivation of this work: to understand high-temperature superconductivity better."

The discovery is a significant advance in an emerging field called Twistronics, whose pioneers include MacDonald and engineer Emanuel Tutuc, also from The University of Texas at Austin. It took several years of hard work by researchers around the world to turn MacDonald's original insight into materials with these strange properties, but it was worth the wait.

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