41 research outputs found

    Shift insulators: rotation-protected two-dimensional topological crystalline insulators

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    We study a two-dimensional (2D) tight-binding model of a topological crystalline insulator (TCI) protected by rotation symmetry. The model is built by stacking two Chern insulators with opposite Chern numbers which transform under conjugate representations of the rotation group, e.g. p±p_\pm orbitals. Despite its apparent similarity to the Kane-Mele model, it does not host stable gapless surface states. Nevertheless the model exhibits topological responses including the appearance of quantized fractional charge bound to rotational defects (disclinations) and the pumping of angular momentum in response to threading an elementary magnetic flux, which are described by a mutual Chern-Simons coupling between the electromagnetic gauge field and an effective gauge field corresponding to the rotation symmetry. In addition, we show that although the filled bands of the model do not admit a symmetric Wannier representation, this obstruction is removed upon the addition of appropriate atomic orbitals, which implies `fragile' topology. As a result, the response of the model can be derived by representing it as a superposition of atomic orbitals with positive and negative integer coefficients. Following the analysis of the model, which serves as a prototypical example of 2D TCIs protected by rotation, we show that all TCIs protected by point group symmetries which do not have protected surface states are either atomic insulators or fragile phases. Remarkably, this implies that gapless surface states exist in free electron systems if and only if there is a stable Wannier obstruction. We then use dimensional reduction to map the problem of classifying 2D TCIs protected by rotation to a zero-dimensional (0D) problem which is then used to obtain the complete non-interacting classification of such TCIs as well as the reduction of this classification in the presence of interactions.Comment: 33 pages, 16 figure

    From electrons to baby skyrmions in Chern ferromagnets: A topological mechanism for spin-polaron formation in twisted bilayer graphene

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    The advent of Moir\'e materials has galvanized interest in the nature of charge carriers in topological bands. In contrast to conventional materials where charge carriers are electron-like quasiparticles, topological bands allow for more exotic possibilities where charge is carried by nontrivial topological textures, such as skyrmions. However, the real space description of skyrmions is ill-suited to address the limit of small or `baby' skyrmions which consist of an electron and a few spin flips. Here, we study the formation of the smallest skyrmions -- spin polarons, formed as bound states of an electron and a spin flip -- in Chern ferromagnets. We show that, quite generally, there is an attraction between an electron and a spin flip that is purely topological in origin and of pp-wave symmetry, which promotes the formation of spin polarons. Applying our results to the topological bands of twisted bilayer graphene, we identify a range of parameters where spin polarons are formed and are lower in energy than electrons. In particular, spin polarons are found to be energetically cheaper on doping correlated insulators at integer fillings towards charge neutrality, consistent with the absence of quantum oscillations and the rapid onset of flavor polarization (cascade) transition in this regime. Our study sets the stage for pairing of spin polarons, helping bridge skyrmion pairing scenarios and momentum space approaches to superconductivity.Comment: 7 page

    Symmetry constraints on superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene: Fractional vortices, 4e4e condensates or non-unitary pairing

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    When two graphene sheets are twisted relative to each other by a small angle, enhanced correlations lead to superconductivity whose origin remains under debate. Here, we derive some general constraints on superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene (TBG), independent of its underlying mechanism. Neglecting weak coupling between valleys, the global symmetry group of TBG consists of independent spin rotations in each valley in addition to valley charge rotations, SU(2)×SU(2)×UV(1) {\rm SU}(2) \times {\rm SU}(2) \times {\rm U}_V(1) . This symmetry is further enhanced to a full SU(4){\rm SU}(4) in the idealized chiral limit. In both cases, we show that any charge 2e2e pairing must break the global symmetry. Additionally, if the pairing is unitary the resulting superconductor admits fractional vortices. This leads to the following general statement: Any superconducting condensate in either symmetry class has to satisfy one of three possibilities: (i) the superconducting pairing is non-unitary, (ii) the superconducting condensate has charge 2e2e but admits at least half quantum vortices which carry a flux of h/4eh/4e, or (iii) the superconducting condensate has charge 2me2me, m>1m>1, with vortices carrying h/2meh/2me flux. The latter possibility can be realized by a symmetric charge 4e4e superconductor (m=2m=2). Non-unitary pairing (i) is expected in TBG for superconductors observed in the vicinity of flavor polarized states. On the other hand, in the absence of flavor polarization, e.g. in the vicinity of charge neutrality, one of the two exotic possibilities (ii) and (iii) is expected. We sketch how all three scenarios can be realized in different limits within a strong coupling theory of superconductivity based on skyrmions. Finally we discuss the effect of symmetry lowering anisotropies and experimental implications of these scenarios.Comment: 9+2 pages, 1 Tabl

    Theory of correlated insulating behaviour and spin-triplet superconductivity in twisted double bilayer graphene

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    Two monolayers of graphene twisted by a small `magic' angle exhibit nearly flat bands leading to correlated electronic states and superconductivity, whose precise nature including possible broken symmetries, remain under debate. Here we theoretically study a related but different system with reduced symmetry - twisted {\em double} bilayer graphene (TDBLG), consisting of {\em two} Bernal stacked bilayer graphene sheets, twisted with respect to one another. Unlike the monolayer case, we show that isolated flat bands only appear on application of a vertical displacement field DD. We construct a phase diagram as a function of twist angle and DD, incorporating interactions via a Hartree-Fock approximation. At half filling, ferromagnetic insulators are stabilized, typically with valley Chern number Cv=2C_v=2. Ferromagnetic fluctuations in the metallic state are argued to lead to spin triplet superconductivity from pairing between electrons in opposite valleys. Response of these states to a magnetic field applied either perpendicular or parallel to the graphene sheets is obtained, and found to compare favorably with a recent experiment. We highlight a novel orbital effect arising from in-plane fields that can exceed the Zeeman effect and plays an important role in interpreting experiments.Comment: main 15 pages, appendix 11 page

    Untwisting moir\'e physics: Almost ideal bands and fractional Chern insulators in periodically strained monolayer graphene

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    Moir\'e systems have emerged in recent years as a rich platform to study strong correlations. Here, we will discuss a simple, experimentally feasible setup based on periodically strained graphene that reproduces several key aspects of twisted moir\'e heterostructures -- but without introducing a twist. We consider a monolayer graphene sheet subject to a C2C_2-breaking periodic strain-induced psuedomagnetic field (PMF) with period LMaL_M \gg a, along with a scalar potential of the same period. This system has {\it almost ideal} flat bands with valley-resolved Chern number ±1\pm 1, where the deviation from ideal band geometry is analytically controlled and exponentially small in the dimensionless ratio (LM/lB)2(L_M/l_B)^2 where lBl_B is the magnetic length corresponding to the maximum value of the PMF. Moreover, the scalar potential can tune the bandwidth far below the Coulomb scale, making this a very promising platform for strongly interacting topological phases. Using a combination of strong-coupling theory and self-consistent Hartree fock, we find quantum anomalous Hall states at integer fillings. At fractional filling, exact diagonaliztion reveals a fractional Chern insulator at parameters in the experimentally feasible range. Overall, we find that this system has larger interaction-induced gaps, smaller quasiparticle dispersion, and enhanced tunability compared to twisted graphene systems, even in their ideal limit.Comment: 5 pages + supplemen
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