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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Evidence of a gate-tunable Mott insulator in a trilayer graphene moiré superlattice

  • Author(s): Chen, G;
  • Jiang, L;
  • Wu, S;
  • Lyu, B;
  • Li, H;
  • Chittari, BL;
  • Watanabe, K;
  • Taniguchi, T;
  • Shi, Z;
  • Jung, J;
  • Zhang, Y;
  • Wang, F
  • et al.

The Mott insulator is a central concept in strongly correlated physics and manifests when the repulsive Coulomb interaction between electrons dominates over their kinetic energy1,2. Doping additional carriers into a Mott insulator can give rise to other correlated phenomena such as unusual magnetism and even high-temperature superconductivity2,3. A tunable Mott insulator, where the competition between the Coulomb interaction and the kinetic energy can be varied in situ, can provide an invaluable model system for the study of Mott physics. Here we report the possible realization of such a tunable Mott insulator in a trilayer graphene heterostructure with a moiré superlattice. The combination of the cubic energy dispersion in ABC-stacked trilayer graphene4–8 and the narrow electronic minibands induced by the moiré potential9–15 leads to the observation of insulating states at the predicted band fillings for the Mott insulator. Moreover, the insulating states in the heterostructure can be tuned: the bandgap can be modulated by a vertical electrical field, and at the same time the electron doping can be modified by a gate to fill the band from one insulating state to another. This opens up exciting opportunities to explore strongly correlated phenomena in two-dimensional moiré superlattice heterostructures.

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