A TU/e and Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology-led collaboration involving researchers from around the world has the answer, and the why, and the results have been published in the journal Science Advances.
Electrons carry electrical energy, while vibrational energy is carried by phonons. Understanding how they interact with each other in certain materials, like in a sandwich of two graphene layers, will have implications for future optoelectronic devices.
Recent work has revealed that graphene layers twisted relative to each other by a small "magic angle" can act as perfect insulator or superconductor. But the physics of the electron–phonon interactions are a mystery. As part of a worldwide international collaboration, TU/e researcher Klaas-Jan Tielrooij has led a study on electron–phonon interactions in graphene layers. And they have made a startling discovery.
What did the electron say to the phonon between two layers of graphene? This might sound like the start of a physics meme with a hilarious punchline to follow. But that's not the case according to Klaas-Jan Tielrooij. He's an associate professor at the Department of Applied Physics and Science Education at TU/e and the research lead of the new work published in Science Advances.
"We sought to understand how electrons and phonons 'talk' to each other within two twisted graphene layers," says Tielrooij.
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