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Doped Twisted Bilayer Graphene near Magic Angles: Proximity to Wigner Crystallization, Not Mott Insulation

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journal contribution
posted on 05.09.2018, 00:00 authored by Bikash Padhi, Chandan Setty, Philip W. Phillips
We devise a model to explain why twisted bilayer graphene exhibits insulating behavior when ν = 2 or 3 charges occupy a unit moiré cell, a feature attributed to Mottness per previous work but not for ν = 1, clearly inconsistent with Mott insulation. We compute rs = EU/EK, where EU and EK are the potential and kinetic energies, respectively, and show that (i) the Mott criterion lies at a density larger than experimental values by a factor of 104 and (ii) a transition to a series of Wigner crystalline states exists as a function of ν. We find that, for ν = 1, rs fails to cross the threshold (rs = 37) for the triangular lattice, and metallic transport ensues. However, for ν = 2 and ν = 3, the thresholds rs = 22 and rs = 17, respectively, are satisfied for a transition to Wigner crystals (WCs) with a honeycomb (ν = 2) and a kagome (ν = 3) structure. We posit that such crystalline states form the correct starting point for analyzing superconductivity.