Publications by Year: 2018

Carr S, Fang S, Jarillo-Herrero P, Kaxiras E. Pressure dependence of the magic twist angle in graphene superlattices. PHYSICAL REVIEW B. 2018;98 (8).Abstract
The recently demonstrated unconventional superconductivity [Cao et al., Nature (London) 556, 43 (2018)] in twisted bilayer graphene (tBLG) opens the possibility for interesting applications of two-dimensional layers that involve correlated electron states. Here we explore the possibility of modifying electronic correlations by the application of uniaxial pressure on the weakly interacting layers, which results in increased interlayer coupling and a modification of the magic angle value and associated density of states. Our findings are based on first-principles calculations that accurately describe the height-dependent interlayer coupling through the combined use of density functional theory and maximally localized Wannier functions. We obtain the relationship between twist angle and external pressure for the magic angle flat bands of tBLG. This may provide a convenient method to tune electron correlations by controlling the length scale of the superlattice.
Shirodkar SN, Mattheakis M, Cazeaux P, Narang P, Soljacic M, Kaxiras E. Quantum plasmons with optical-range frequencies in doped few-layer graphene. PHYSICAL REVIEW B. 2018;97 (19).Abstract
Although plasmon modes exist in doped graphene, the limited range of doping achieved by gating restricts the plasmon frequencies to a range that does not include the visible and infrared. Here we show, through the use of first-principles calculations, that the high levels of doping achieved by lithium intercalation in bilayer and trilayer graphene shift the plasmon frequencies into the visible range. To obtain physically meaningful results, we introduce a correction of the effect of plasmon interaction across the vacuum separating periodic images of the doped graphene layers, consisting of transparent boundary conditions in the direction perpendicular to the layers; this represents a significant improvement over the exact Coulomb cutoff technique employed in earlier works. The resulting plasmon modes are due to local field effects and the nonlocal response of the material to external electromagnetic fields, requiring a fully quantum mechanical treatment. We describe the features of these quantum plasmons, including the dispersion relation, losses, and field localization. Our findings point to a strategy for fine-tuning the plasmon frequencies in graphene and other two-dimensional materials.
Larson DT, Kaxiras E. Raman spectrum of CrI3: An ab initio study. PHYSICAL REVIEW B. 2018;98 (8).Abstract
We study the Raman spectrum of CrI3, a material that exhibits magnetism in a single layer. We employ first-principles calculations within density functional theory to determine the effects of polarization, strain, and incident angle on the phonon spectra of the three-dimensional bulk and the single-layer two-dimensional structure, for both the high- and low-temperature crystal structures. Our results are in good agreement with existing experimental measurements and serve as a guide for additional investigations to elucidate the physics of this interesting material.
Montemore MM, Hoyt R, Kolesov G, Kaxiras E. Reaction-Induced Excitations and Their Effect on Surface Chemistry. ACS CATALYSIS. 2018;8 (11) :10358-10363.Abstract
Despite intensive study of reactions on metals, it is unclear whether electronic excitations play an important role. Here, we show that nonadiabatic effects do indeed play a significant role in N-2 and H-2 dissociation on Ru nanoparticles. We employ nonadiabatic dynamical calculations based on realtime, time-dependent density functional theory to study energy dissipation during these exothermic reaction steps. We find that dissipation of the excess energy into excitation of electrons exceeds thermal dissipation into phonons. For isolated dissociation events, electronic friction can increase reaction barriers; furthermore, the excitations induced by a dissociation event can affect other reacting molecules. Our studies suggest that, for exothermic reactions, metal catalysts in reaction conditions may be constantly experiencing electronic excitations, and these excitations can significantly affect surface chemistry.
Carr S, Massatt D, Torrisi SB, Cazeaux P, Luskin M, Kaxiras E. Relaxation and domain formation in incommensurate two-dimensional heterostructures. PHYSICAL REVIEW B. 2018;98 (22).Abstract
We introduce configuration space as a natural representation for calculating the mechanical relaxation patterns of incommensurate two-dimensional (2D) bilayers. The approach can be applied to a wide variety of 2D materials through the use of a continuum model in combination with a generalized stacking fault energy for interlayer interactions. We present computational results for small-angle twisted bilayer graphene and molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a representative material of the transition-metal dichalcogenide family of 2D semiconductors. We calculate accurate relaxations for MoS2 even at small twist-angle values, enabled by the fact that our approach does not rely on empirical atomistic potentials for interlayer coupling. The results demonstrate the efficiency of the configuration space method by computing relaxations with minimal computational cost. We also outline a general explanation of domain formation in 2D bilayers with nearly aligned lattices, taking advantage of the relationship between real space and configuration space. The configuration space approach also enables calculation of relaxations in incommensurate multilayer systems.
Cao Y, Fatemi V, Fang S, Watanabe K, Taniguchi T, Kaxiras E, Jarillo-Herrero P. Unconventional superconductivity in magic-angle graphene superlattices. NATURE. 2018;556 (7699) :43+.Abstract
The behaviour of strongly correlated materials, and in particular unconventional superconductors, has been studied extensively for decades, but is still not well understood. This lack of theoretical understanding has motivated the development of experimental techniques for studying such behaviour, such as using ultracold atom lattices to simulate quantum materials. Here we report the realization of intrinsic unconventional superconductivity-which cannot be explained by weak electron-phonon interactions-in a two-dimensional superlattice created by stacking two sheets of graphene that are twisted relative to each other by a small angle. For twist angles of about 1.1 degrees-the first `magic' angle-the electronic band structure of this `twisted bilayer graphene' exhibits flat bands near zero Fermi energy, resulting in correlated insulating states at half-filling. Upon electrostatic doping of the material away from these correlated insulating states, we observe tunable zero-resistance states with a critical temperature of up to 1.7 kelvin. The temperature-carrier-density phase diagram of twisted bilayer graphene is similar to that of copper oxides (or cuprates), and includes dome-shaped regions that correspond to superconductivity. Moreover, quantum oscillations in the longitudinal resistance of the material indicate the presence of small Fermi surfaces near the correlated insulating states, in analogy with underdoped cuprates. The relatively high superconducting critical temperature of twisted bilayer graphene, given such a small Fermi surface (which corresponds to a carrier density of about 1011 per square centimetre), puts it among the superconductors with the strongest pairing strength between electrons. Twisted bilayer graphene is a precisely tunable, purely carbon-based, two-dimensional superconductor. It is therefore an ideal material for investigations of strongly correlated phenomena, which could lead to insights into the physics of high-critical-temperature superconductors and quantum spin liquids.
Maier M, Mattheakis M, Kaxiras E, Luskin M, Margetis D. Universal behavior of a dispersive Dirac cone in gradient-index plasmonic metamaterials. PHYSICAL REVIEW B. 2018;97 (3).Abstract
We demonstrate analytically and numerically that the dispersive Dirac cone emulating an epsilon-near-zero (ENZ) behavior is a universal property within a family of plasmonic crystals consisting of two-dimensional (2D) metals. Our starting point is a periodic array of 2D metallic sheets embedded in an inhomogeneous and anisotropic dielectric host that allows for propagation of transverse-magnetic (TM) polarized waves. By invoking a systematic bifurcation argument for arbitrary dielectric profiles in one spatial dimension, we show how TM Bloch waves experience an effective dielectric function that averages out microscopic details of the host medium. The corresponding effective dispersion relation reduces to a Dirac cone when the conductivity of the metallic sheet and the period of the array satisfy a critical condition for ENZ behavior. Our analytical findings are in excellent agreement with numerical simulations.
Xu F, Fampiou I, O'Connor CR, Karakalos S, Hiebel F, Kaxiras E, Madix RJ, Friend CM. Water facilitates oxygen migration on gold surfaces. PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS. 2018;20 (4) :2196-2204.Abstract
The water-oxygen-gold interface is important in many surface processes and has potential influence on heterogeneous catalysis. Herein, it is shown that water facilitates the migration of atomic oxygen on Au(110), demonstrating the dynamic nature of surface adsorption. We demonstrate this effect for the first time, using in situ scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM), temperature-programmed reaction spectroscopy (TPRS) and first-principles theoretical calculations. The dynamic interaction of water with adsorbed O maintains a high dispersion of O on the surface, potentially creating reactive transient species. At low temperature and pressure, isotopic experiments show that adsorbed oxygen on the Au(110) surface exchanges with oxygen in (H2O)-O-18. The presence of water modulates local electronic properties and facilitates oxygen exchange. Combining experimental results and theory, we propose that hydroxyl is transiently formed via proton transfer from the water to adsorbed oxygen. Hydroxyl groups easily recombine to regenerate water and adsorbed oxygen atoms, the net result of which is migration of the adsorbed oxygen without significant change in its overall distribution on the surface. The presence of water creates a dynamic surface where mobile surface oxygen atoms and hydroxyls are present, which can lead to a better performance of gold catalysis in oxidation reactions.