All Magic Angles in Twisted Bilayer Graphene are Topological

Zhida Song, Zhijun Wang, Wujun Shi, Gang Li, Chen Fang, B. Andrei Bernevig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

We show that the electronic structure of the low-energy bands in the small angle-twisted bilayer graphene consists of a series of semimetallic and topological phases. In particular, we are able to prove, using an approximate low-energy particle-hole symmetry, that the gapped set of bands that exist around all magic angles have a nontrivial topology stabilized by a magnetic symmetry, provided band gaps appear at fillings of ±4 electrons per moiré unit cell. The topological index is given as the winding number (a Z number) of the Wilson loop in the moiré Brillouin zone. Furthermore, we also claim that, when the gapped bands are allowed to couple with higher-energy bands, the Z index collapses to a stable Z2 index. The approximate, emergent particle-hole symmetry is essential to the topology of graphene: When strongly broken, nontopological phases can appear. Our Letter underpins topology as the crucial ingredient to the description of low-energy graphene. We provide a four-band short-range tight-binding model whose two lower bands have the same topology, symmetry, and flatness as those of the twisted bilayer graphene and which can be used as an effective low-energy model. We then perform large-scale (11000 atoms per unit cell, 40 days per k-point computing time) ab initio calculations of a series of small angles, from 3° to 1°, which show a more complex and somewhat different evolution of the symmetry of the low-energy bands than that of the theoretical moiré model but which confirm the topological nature of the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number036401
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume123
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 16 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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