Pairing in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene: Role of phonon and plasmon umklapp

Cyprian Lewandowski, Debanjan Chowdhury, Jonathan Ruhman

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Identifying the microscopic mechanism for superconductivity in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene (MATBG) is an outstanding open problem. While MATBG exhibits a rich phase-diagram, driven partly by the strong interactions relative to the electronic bandwidth, its single-particle properties are unique and likely play an important role in some of the phenomenological complexity. Some of the salient features include an electronic bandwidth smaller than the characteristic phonon bandwidth and a nontrivial structure of the underlying Bloch wave functions. We perform a theoretical study of the cooperative effects due to phonons and plasmons on pairing in order to disentangle the distinct role played by these modes on superconductivity. We consider a variant of MATBG with an enlarged number of fermion flavors, N≫1, where the study of pairing instabilities reduces to the conventional (weak-coupling) Eliashberg framework. In particular, we show that certain umklapp processes involving minioptical phonon modes, which arise physically as a result of the folding of the original acoustic branch of graphene due to the moiré superlattice structure, contribute significantly towards enhancing pairing. We also investigate the role played by the dynamics of the screened Coulomb interaction on pairing, which leads to an enhancement in a narrow window of fillings, and study the effect of external screening due to a metallic gate on superconductivity. At strong coupling, the dynamical pairing interaction leaves a spectral mark in the single-particle tunneling density of states. We thus predict such features will appear at specific frequencies of the umklapp phonons corresponding to the sound velocity of graphene times an integer multiple of the Brillouin zone size.

Original languageEnglish
Article number235401
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number23
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2021

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