Thursday, February 17, 2022
ISEB 1310 [Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building]
Atomically thin Van der Waals materials have emerged as a highly versatile platform to advance our understanding of quantum matter driven by strong electron correlations. Recent experimental breakthroughs in stabilizing few-layered graphene structures with a “magic” relative twist between layers has led to the discovery of a wide variety of correlated states ranging from magnetism to superconductivity. Despite compelling experimental evidence for unconventional superconductivity, the glue which binds electrons into Cooper pairs remains a mystery. In this talk I will propose a novel resolution: the Cooper pairs are composed of electrically charged topological spin textures called “skyrmions,” rather than electrons. First proposed by Tony Skyrme to model baryons in particle physics, I will explain how their topological properties can give rise to superconductivity in an electronic model with purely repulsive interactions, and without recourse to phonons which are conventionally responsible for pairing.