In DepthMaterials Science

‘Magic angle’ graphene's next trick: superconducting devices

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Science  20 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6519, pp. 897-898
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6519.897

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Summary

In 2018, a group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) pulled off a dazzling materials science magic trick. They stacked two microscopic cards of graphene—sheets of carbon one atom thick—and twisted one ever so slightly. Applying an electric field transformed the stack from a conductor to an insulator and then, suddenly, into a superconductor: a material that frictionlessly conducts electricity. Dozens of labs leapt into the newly born field of "twistronics," hoping to conjure up novel electronic devices without the hassles of fusing together chemically different materials. Two groups—including the pioneering MIT group—are now delivering on that promise by turning twisted graphene into working devices, including superconducting switches like those used in many quantum computers. The studies mark a crucial step for the material, which is already maturing into a basic science tool able to capture and control individual electrons and photons. Now, it is showing it could one day be the basis of new electronic devices.

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