In recent decades, enormous research efforts have been expended on the exploration and explanation of high-temperature (high-Tc) superconductors, a class of materials exhibiting zero resistance at particularly high temperatures. Now a team of scientists from the United States, Germany and Japan explains in Nature how the electronic structure in twisted bilayer graphene influences the emergence of the insulating state in these systems, which is the precursor to superconductivity in high-Tc materials.
Finding a material which superconducts at room temperature would lead to a technological revolution, alleviate the energy crisis (as nowadays most energy is lost on the way from generation to usage) and boost computing performance to an entirely new level. However, despite the progress made in understanding these systems, a full theoretical description is still elusive, leaving our search for room temperature superconductivity mainly serendipitous.
In a major scientific breakthrough in 2018, twisted bilayer graphene (TBLG) was shown to exhibit phases of matter akin to those of a certain class of high-Tc superconducting materials—the so-called high-Tc cuprates. This represents a novel inroad via a much cleaner and more controllable experimental setup.