Electronic properties of twisted bilayer graphene suspended and encapsulated with hexagonal boron nitride



Min Long, Zhen Zhan, Pierre A. Pantaleón, Jose Ángel Silva-Guillén, Francisco Guinea, Shengjun Yuan


The recent observed anomalous Hall effect in magic angle twisted bilayer graphene (TBG) aligned to hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) and unconventional ferroelectricity in Bernal bilayer graphene sandwiched by hBN present a new platform to tune the correlated properties in graphene systems. In these graphene-based moir\'e superlattices, the aligned hBN substrate plays an important role. In this paper, we analyze the effects of hBN substrate on the band structure of the TBG. By means of an atomistic tight-binding model we calculate the electronic properties of TBG suspended and encapsulated with hBN. Interestingly, we found that the physical properties of TBG are extremely sensitive to the presence of hBN and they may be completely different if TBG is suspended or encapsulated. We quantify these differences by analysing their electronic properties, optical conductivity and band topology. We found that the narrow bandwidth, band gap, local density of states and optical conductivity are significantly modified by the aligned hBN substrates. Interestingly, these electronic properties can be used as a signature of the alignment in experiment. Moreover, the TBG/hBN superlattices in the presence or absence of the two-fold rotation symmetry response differently to the external electric field. For the TBG suspended in the hBN, application of an electric field results in the charge unevenly distributed between graphene layers, which can be used to tune the strength of the valley Hall effect or the anomalous Hall effect. Such rich topological phase diagram in these systems may be useful for experiments.



Dr. Pantaleón -- Thank you for your summary. Boron nitrate's hexagonal lattice has a slightly different lattice constant than graphene. Is its effect equivalent to strain applied in addition to the twist to one of the layers?
ScienceCast moderators (Condensed Matter)


The presence of the hBN induces an small strain field in the nearest graphene layer, this field follows the periodicity of the resulting moiré pattern. 

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