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Controlling many-body states by the electric-field effect in a two-dimensional material

TitleControlling many-body states by the electric-field effect in a two-dimensional material
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLi, L. J., O'Farrell E. C. T., Loh K. P., Eda G., Özyilmaz B., and Neto Castro A. H.
Date Published01/2016

To understand the complex physics of a system with strong electron-electron interactions, the ideal is to control and monitor its properties while tuning an external electric field applied to the system (the electric-field effect). Indeed, complete electric-field control of many-body states in strongly correlated electron systems is fundamental to the next generation of condensed matter research and devices(1-3). However, the material must be thin enough to avoid shielding of the electric field in the bulk material. Two-dimensional materials do not experience electrical screening, and their charge-carrier density can be controlled by gating. Octahedral titanium diselenide (1T-TiSe2) is a prototypical two-dimensional material that reveals a charge-density wave (CDW) and superconductivity in its phase diagram(4), presenting several similarities with other layered systems such as copper oxides(5), iron pnictides(6), and crystals of rare-earth elements and actinide atoms(7). By studying 1T-TiSe2 single crystals with thicknesses of 10 nanometres or less, encapsulated in two-dimensional layers of hexagonal boron nitride, we achieve unprecedented control over the CDW transition temperature (tuned from 170 kelvin to 40 kelvin), and over the superconductivity transition temperature (tuned from a quantum critical point at 0 kelvin up to 3 kelvin). Electrically driving TiSe2 over different ordered electronic phases allows us to study the details of the phase transitions between many-body states. Observations of periodic oscillations of magnetoresistance induced by the Little-Parks effect show that the appearance of superconductivity is directly correlated with the spatial texturing of the amplitude and phase of the superconductivity order parameter, corresponding to a two-dimensional matrix of superconductivity. We infer that this superconductivity matrix is supported by a matrix of incommensurate CDW states embedded in the commensurate CDW states. Our results show that spatially modulated electronic states are fundamental to the appearance of two-dimensional superconductivity.


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