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Twistable electronics with dynamically rotatable heterostructures

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Science  17 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6403, pp. 690-693
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat6981

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Controlling two-dimensional twist

In heterostructures assembled from two-dimensional materials such as graphene, electron tunneling between layers varies strongly with the rotation angle between the crystal lattices. Usually, the twist angle between layers is fixed after assembly. Ribeiro-Palau et al. encapsulated graphene with boron nitride, but the top boron nitride flake was shaped so that an atomic force microscope tip could push on it to vary the twist angle by as little as 0.2°. They observed variations with twist angle in properties such as the charge neutrality point, which would be difficult to observe in static rotated structures.

Science, this issue p. 690

Abstract

In heterostructures of two-dimensional materials, electronic properties can vary dramatically with relative interlayer angle. This effect makes it theoretically possible to realize a new class of twistable electronics in which properties can be manipulated on demand by means of rotation. We demonstrate a device architecture in which a layered heterostructure can be dynamically twisted in situ. We study graphene encapsulated by boron nitride, where, at small rotation angles, the device characteristics are dominated by coupling to a long-wavelength moiré superlattice. The ability to investigate arbitrary rotation angle in a single device reveals features of the optical, mechanical, and electronic response in this system not captured in static rotation studies. Our results establish the capability to fabricate twistable electronic devices with dynamically tunable properties.

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