skip to main content

Title: Competing correlated states and abundant orbital magnetism in twisted monolayer-bilayer graphene

Flat band moiré superlattices have recently emerged as unique platforms for investigating the interplay between strong electronic correlations, nontrivial band topology, and multiple isospin ‘flavor’ symmetries. Twisted monolayer-bilayer graphene (tMBG) is an especially rich system owing to its low crystal symmetry and the tunability of its bandwidth and topology with an external electric field. Here, we find that orbital magnetism is abundant within the correlated phase diagram of tMBG, giving rise to the anomalous Hall effect in correlated metallic states nearby most odd integer fillings of the flat conduction band, as well as correlated Chern insulator states stabilized in an external magnetic field. The behavior of the states at zero field appears to be inconsistent with simple spin and valley polarization for the specific range of twist angles we investigate, and instead may plausibly result from an intervalley coherent (IVC) state with an order parameter that breaks time reversal symmetry. The application of a magnetic field further tunes the competition between correlated states, in some cases driving first-order topological phase transitions. Our results underscore the rich interplay between closely competing correlated ground states in tMBG, with possible implications for probing exotic IVC ordering.

; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1719797 1725221
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The interplay between band topology and magnetism can give rise to exotic states of matter. For example, magnetically doped topological insulators can realize a Chern insulator that exhibits quantized Hall resistance at zero magnetic field. While prior works have focused on ferromagnetic systems, little is known about band topology and its manipulation in antiferromagnets. Here, we report that MnBi2Te4is a rare platform for realizing a canted-antiferromagnetic (cAFM) Chern insulator with electrical control. We show that the Chern insulator state with Chern numberC = 1 appears as the AFM to canted-AFM phase transition happens. The Chern insulator state is further confirmed by observing the unusual transition of theC = 1 state in the cAFM phase to theC = 2 orbital quantum Hall states in the magnetic field induced ferromagnetic phase. Near the cAFM-AFM phase boundary, we show that the dissipationless chiral edge transport can be toggled on and off by applying an electric field alone. We attribute this switching effect to the electrical field tuning of the exchange gap alignment between the top and bottom surfaces. Our work paves the way for future studies on topological cAFM spintronics and facilitates the development of proof-of-concept Chern insulator devices.

  2. Abstract

    Interplay of magnetism and electronic band topology in unconventional magnets enables the creation and fine control of novel electronic phenomena. In this work, we use scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy to study thin films of a prototypical kagome magnet Fe3Sn2. Our experiments reveal an unusually large number of densely-spaced spectroscopic features straddling the Fermi level. These are consistent with signatures of low-energy Weyl fermions and associated topological Fermi arc surface states predicted by theory. By measuring their response as a function of magnetic field, we discover a pronounced evolution in energy tied to the magnetization direction. Electron scattering and interference imaging further demonstrates the tunable nature of a subset of related electronic states. Our experiments provide a direct visualization of how in-situ spin reorientation drives changes in the electronic density of states of the Weyl fermion band structure. Combined with previous reports of massive Dirac fermions, flat bands, and electronic nematicity, our work establishes Fe3Sn2as an interesting platform that harbors an extraordinarily wide array of topological and correlated electron phenomena.

  3. Abstract

    Moiré superlattices created by the twisted stacking of two-dimensional crystals can host electronic bands with flat energy dispersion in which enhanced interactions promote correlated electron states. The twisted double bilayer graphene (TDBG), where two Bernal bilayer graphene are stacked with a twist angle, is such a moiré system with tunable flat bands. Here, we use gate-tuned scanning tunneling spectroscopy to directly demonstrate the tunability of the band structure of TDBG with an electric field and to show spectroscopic signatures of electronic correlations and topology for its flat band. Our spectroscopic experiments are in agreement with a continuum model of TDBG band structure and reveal signatures of a correlated insulator gap at partial filling of its isolated flat band. The topological properties of this flat band are probed with the application of a magnetic field, which leads to valley polarization and the splitting of Chern bands with a large effective g-factor.

  4. Abstract

    The discovery of unconventional superconductivity in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene (tBLG) supported the twist-angle-induced flat band structure predictions made a decade earlier. Numerous physical properties have since been linked to the interlayer twist angle using the flat band prediction as a guideline. However, some key observations like the nematic phase and striped charge order behind the superconductivity are missing in this initial model. Here we show that a thermodynamically stable large out-of-plane displacement, or corrugation of the bilayer, induced by the interlayer twist, demonstrates partially filled states of the flat band structure, accompanied by a broken symmetry, in the magic-angle regime and the presence of symmetry breaking associated with the superconductivity in tBLG. The distinction between low and high corrugation can also explain the observed evolution of the vibrational spectra of tBLG as a function of twist angle. Our observation that large out-of-plane deformation modes enable partial filling of states near the Fermi energy may lead to a strategy for offsetting the effects of disorder in the local twist angle, which suppresses unconventional superconductivity and correlated insulator behavior in magic-angle tBLG.

  5. Abstract

    Nonlinear photocurrent in time-reversal invariant noncentrosymmetric systems such as ferroelectric semimetals sparked tremendous interest of utilizing nonlinear optics to characterize condensed matter with exotic phases. Here we provide a microscopic theory of two types of second-order nonlinear direct photocurrents, magnetic shift photocurrent (MSC) and magnetic injection photocurrent (MIC), as the counterparts of normal shift current (NSC) and normal injection current (NIC) in time-reversal symmetry and inversion symmetry broken systems. We show that MSC is mainly governed by shift vector and interband Berry curvature, and MIC is dominated by absorption strength and asymmetry of the group velocity difference at time-reversed ±kpoints. Taking$${\cal{P}}{\cal{T}}$$PT-symmetric magnetic topological quantum material bilayer antiferromagnetic (AFM) MnBi2Te4as an example, we predict the presence of large MIC in the terahertz (THz) frequency regime which can be switched between two AFM states with time-reversed spin orderings upon magnetic transition. In addition, external electric field breaks$${\cal{P}}{\cal{T}}$$PTsymmetry and enables large NSC response in bilayer AFM MnBi2Te4, which can be switched by external electric field. Remarkably, both MIC and NSC are highly tunable under varying electric field due to the field-induced large Rashba and Zeeman splitting, resulting in large nonlinear photocurrent response down to a few THz regime, suggesting bilayer AFM-zMnBi2Te4as amore »tunable platform with rich THz and magneto-optoelectronic applications. Our results reveal that nonlinear photocurrent responses governed by NSC, NIC, MSC, and MIC provide a powerful tool for deciphering magnetic structures and interactions which could be particularly fruitful for probing and understanding magnetic topological quantum materials.

    « less