|Title||MIT Physicists Discover "Magic-Angle" Trilayer Graphene May be a Rare, Magnet-Proof Superconductor|
|Date||Thursday July 22, @09:35AM|
|from the attractive-proposal dept.|
MIT Physicists Discover “Magic-Angle” Trilayer Graphene May Be a Rare, Magnet-Proof Superconductor:
Superconducting materials are defined by their super-efficient ability to conduct electricity without losing energy. When exposed to an electric current, electrons in a superconductor couple up in “Cooper pairs” that then travel through the material without resistance, like passengers on an express train.
In a vast majority of superconductors, these passenger pairs have opposite spins, with one electron spinning up, and the other down — a configuration known as a “spin-singlet.”[*] These pairs happily speed through a superconductor, except under high magnetic fields, which can shift the energy of each electron in opposite directions, pulling the pair apart. In this way, and through mechanisms, high magnetic fields can derail superconductivity in conventional spin-singlet superconductors.
[...] But there exists a handful of exotic superconductors that are impervious to magnetic fields, up to very large strengths. These materials superconduct through pairs of electrons with the same spin — a property known as “spin-triplet.”[**] When exposed to high magnetic fields, the energy of both electrons in a Cooper pair shift in the same direction, in a way that they are not pulled apart but continue superconducting unperturbed, regardless of the magnetic field strength.
[...] In their new study, the physicists tested trilayer graphene’s superconductivity under increasingly higher magnetic fields. They fabricated the material by peeling away atom-thin layers of carbon from a block of graphite, stacking three layers together, and rotating the middle one by 1.56 degrees with respect to the outer layers. They attached an electrode to either end of the material to run a current through and measure any energy lost in the process. Then they turned on a large magnet in the lab, with a field which they oriented parallel to the material.
As they increased the magnetic field around trilayer graphene, they observed that superconductivity held strong up to a point before disappearing, but then curiously reappeared at higher field strengths — a comeback that is highly unusual and not known to occur in conventional spin-singlet superconductors.
Spin-singlet state and spin-tripet state on Wikipedia.
Yuan Cao, Jeong Min Park, Kenji Watanabe, et al. Pauli-limit violation and re-entrant superconductivity in moiré graphene, Nature (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03685-y)
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