A single-atom-thick sheet of carbon known as graphene has remarkable properties on its own, but things can get even more interesting when you stack up multiple sheets. When two or more overlying sheets of graphene are sightly misaligned -- twisted at certain angles relative to each other -- they take on a plethora of exotic identities.Depending on the twist angle, these materials, known as moiré quantum matter, can suddenly generate their own magnetic fields, become superconductors with zero electrical resistance, or conversely, turn into perfect insulators.

Joseph A. Stroscio and his colleagues at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), along with an international team of collaborators, have developed a "quantum ruler" to measure and explore the strange properties of these twisted materials. The work may also lead to a new, miniaturized standard for electrical resistance that could calibrate electronic devices directly on the factory floor, eliminating the need to send them to an off-site standards laboratory.

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