A ‘magic angle’ lets electrons flow freely
LOS ANGELES — Give a graphene layer cake a twist and it superconducts — electrons flow freely through it without resistance. Made up of two layers of graphene, a form of carbon arranged in single-atom-thick sheets, the structure’s weird behavior suggests it may provide a fruitful playground for testing how certain unusual types of superconductors work, physicist Pablo Jarillo-Herrero of MIT reported March 7 at a meeting of the American Physical Society.
The discovery, also detailed in two papers published online in Nature on March 5, could aid the search for a superconductor that functions at room temperature, instead of the chilly conditions required by all known superconductors. If found, such a substance could replace standard conductors in various electronics, promising massive energy savings.
Layered graphene’s superconductivity occurs when the second