How Atomic-Scale Geometry Might Shape the Future of Electronics

Twistronics could illuminate a path to superconductivity, revolutionize electronic devices, or perhaps hasten the arrival of quantum computing


Mathematicians at the University of Utah have discovered that, by twisting one square lattice over another, composite materials based on the resulting bilayer moiré pattern display electrical and physical properties that can change quite abruptly. Their findings echo twistronics, the science of twisting atomic lattices, and on some rather complex geometric principles. The discovery could have implications for a wide variety of industries, as engineers might be able to precisely calibrate the electrical, optical, thermal, or even acoustic properties of these materials. Specifically, twistronics and aperiodic geometry might soon illuminate a path to higher-temperature superconductivity, revolutionize electronic devices, or perhaps even hasten the arrival of quantum computers.

“We rotated and dilated two regular lattices relative to one another, creating a veritable zoo of microgeometries—and some incredible patterns emerged,” says Ken Golden, distinguished professor of Mathematics at the University of Utah and senior author of the study.

“The resulting moiré provides a template for the geometrical arrangement of two component materials, that, together make up a new twisted bilayer composite,” he tells Popular Mechanics. Imagine chicken wire lattices layered on top of each other; these can be twisted one relative to another and form entirely new moiré scales of periodicity or non-periodicity.

Read the entire story by ADRIENNE BERNHARD in Popular Mechanics.