Discover the cutting-edge research of Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics at MIT. As an expert in quantum electronic transport and optoelectronics, he has pioneered a revolutionary platform known as twistronics. Dive into the realm of twistronics, where crystalline planes’ twist angles unlock unprecedented control over quantum materials. Explore his journey from Spain to the US and learn how his breakthroughs are shaping the future of quantum materials research. Explore the impact of his work on quantum sensing, superconductivity, and the emerging Quantum 2.0 technologies.
Which wall does your research break?
My research aims to understand the novel quantum behavior that emerges when many particles (for example electrons) interact strongly among themselves. These interactions give rise to many of the most fascinating states of matter in the universe, and are of crucial importance both for a deep understanding of fundamental physics as well as for the next generation of quantum technologies. Despite its importance for both fundamental physics and applications, and despite many decades of intense research, strongly interacting systems of particles are notoriously difficult to understand theoretically. My group has discovered a new and highly tunable platform, namely twistronics, which enables a much deeper and more controlled exploration of strongly interacting electrons in quantum materials. This new platform has enabled us to realize within a short time span many exotic states of quantum matter, revolutionizing quantum materials research. The basis of this platform is the ability to engineer all properties of quantum materials simply by playing with the relative angle, or twist angle, between crystalline planes in materials. This new “tuning knob”, namely the twist angle, is unprecedented in the history of materials science, and only recently it became possible to make use of it for this fascinating new twistronics platform.
What inspired or motivated you to work on your current research or project?
A key motivation for my group was the “discovery” aspect of this research. No one had ever attempted to make use of the possibility to tune the twist angle between crystalline materials to investigate exotic states of quantum matter. In the field of quantum materials, systems are sufficiently complex that often surprises arise. For me, exploring unchartered territory, in the sense of playing with this new twist angle tuning knob, seemed an obvious arena for unprecedented discovery. Our decade-long efforts to explore twistronics were highly rewarded when we discovered superconductivity and strong interactions in magic angle graphene in 2018, and the field has grown exponentially since then.
In what ways does society benefit from your research?
Our research impacts society in two fronts: (1) First is the fundamental physics aspect, the great amount of new knowledge we are generating, which will affect the field of quantum materials research for decades to come. (2) Second it is the potential applications that will arise directly connected to or motivated by our research. These include a myriad applications in novel quantum technologies, or Quantum 2.0, as well as neuromorphic computing for AI and related applications. In that sense, we have discovered new types of superconductors of potential use in quantum sensing and computing applications, new ferromagnetic materials, new unconventional ferroelectrics with neuromorphic computing capabilities unparalleled in other materials, etc.