General construction and topological classification of crystalline flat bands

Dumitru Călugăru, Aaron Chew, Luis Elcoro, Yuanfeng Xu, Nicolas Regnault, Zhi Da Song, B. Andrei Bernevig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Exotic phases of matter can emerge from the interplay between strong electron interactions and non-trivial topology. Materials that have non-dispersing bands in their electronic band structure, such as twisted bilayer graphene, are prime candidates for strongly interacting physics. However, existing theoretical models for obtaining these ‘flat bands’ in crystals are often too restrictive for experimental realizations. Here we present a generic theoretical technique for constructing perfectly flat bands from bipartite crystalline lattices. Our prescription encapsulates and generalizes the various flat-band models in the literature and is applicable to systems with any orbital content, with or without spin–orbit coupling. Using topological quantum chemistry, we build a complete topological classification in terms of symmetry eigenvalues of all the gapped and gapless flat bands. We also derive criteria for the existence of symmetry-protected band touching points between the flat and dispersive bands, and identify the gapped flat bands as prime candidates for fragile topological phases. Finally, we show that the set of all perfectly flat bands is finitely generated and construct the corresponding bases for all 1,651 Shubnikov space groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-189
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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