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In magic angle twisted bilayer graphene, transport, thermodynamic and spectroscopic experiments pinpoint at a competition between distinct low-energy states with and without electronic order, as well as a competition between localized and delocalized charge carriers. In this study, we utilize Dynamical Mean Field Theory (DMFT) on the topological heavy Fermion (THF) model of twisted bilayer graphene to investigate the emergence of electronic correlations and long-range order in the absence of strain. We explain the nature of emergent insulating and correlated metallic states, as well as transitions between them driven by three central phenomena: (i) the formation of local spin and valley isospin moments around 100K, (ii) the ordering of the local isospin moments around 10K, and (iii) a cascadic redistribution of charge between localized and delocalized electronic states upon doping. At integer fillings, we find that low energy spectral weight is depleted in the symmetric phase, while we find insulating states with gaps enhanced by exchange coupling in the zero-strain ordered phases. Doping away from integer filling results in distinct metallic states: a "bad metal" above the ordering temperature, where coherence of the low-energy electronic excitations is suppressed by scattering off the disordered local moments, and a "good metal" in the ordered states with coherence of quasiparticles facilitated by isospin order. Upon doping, there is charge transfer between the localized and delocalized orbitals of the THF model such that they get periodically filled and emptied in between integer fillings. This charge reshuffling manifests itself in cascades of doping-induced Lifshitz transitions, local spectral weight redistributions and periodic variations of the electronic compressibility ranging from nearly incompressible to negative.

Deconfinement of Mott localized electrons into topological and spin–orbit-coupled Dirac fermions
(2020)

The interplay of electronic correlations, spin–orbit coupling and topology holds promise for the realization of exotic states of quantum matter. Models of strongly interacting electrons on honeycomb lattices have revealed rich phase diagrams featuring unconventional quantum states including chiral superconductivity and correlated quantum spin Hall insulators intertwining with complex magnetic order. Material realizations of these electronic states are, however, scarce or inexistent. In this work, we propose and show that stacking 1T-TaSe2 into bilayers can deconfine electrons from a deep Mott insulating state in the monolayer to a system of correlated Dirac fermions subject to sizable spin–orbit coupling in the bilayer. 1T-TaSe2 develops a Star-of-David charge density wave pattern in each layer. When the Star-of-David centers belonging to two adyacent layers are stacked in a honeycomb pattern, the system realizes a generalized Kane–Mele–Hubbard model in a regime where Dirac semimetallic states are subject to significant Mott–Hubbard interactions and spin–orbit coupling. At charge neutrality, the system is close to a quantum phase transition between a quantum spin Hall and an antiferromagnetic insulator. We identify a perpendicular electric field and the twisting angle as two knobs to control topology and spin–orbit coupling in the system. Their combination can drive it across hitherto unexplored grounds of correlated electron physics, including a quantum tricritical point and an exotic first-order topological phase transition.

Although iron-based catalysts are regarded as a promising alternative to precious metal catalysts, their precise electronic structures during catalysis still pose challenges for computational descriptions. A particularly urgent question is the influence of the environment on the electronic structure, and how to describe this properly with computational methods. Here, we study an iron porphyrin chloride complex adsorbed on a graphene sheet using density functional theory calculations to detail how much the electronic structure is influenced by the presence of a graphene layer. Our results indicate that weak interactions due to van der Waals forces dominate between the porphyrin complex and graphene, and only a small amount of charge is transferred between the two entities. Furthermore, the interplay of the ligand field environment, strong p − d hybridization, and correlation effects within the complex are strongly involved in determining the spin state of the iron ion. By bridging molecular chemistry and solid state physics, this study provides first steps towards a joint analysis of the properties of iron-based catalysts from first principles.

We use the topological heavy fermion (THF) model and its Kondo Lattice (KL) formulation to study the symmetric Kondo state in twisted bilayer graphene. Via a large-N approximation, we find a symmetric Kondo (SK) state in KL mode at fillings ν=0,±1,±2. In the SK state, all symmetries are preserved and the local moments are Kondo screened by the conduction electrons. At the mean-field level of the THF model at ν=0,±1,±2,±3, we also find a similar symmetric state. We study the stability of the symmetric state by comparing its energy with the ordered states and find the ordered states to have lower energy. However, moving away from integer fillings by doping holes to the light bands, we find the energy difference is reduced, which suggests the loss of ordering and a tendency towards Kondo screening. In order to include many-body effects beyond the mean-field approximation, we perform dynamical mean-field theory (DMFT) calculations on the THF model. We find the spin susceptibility follows a Curie behavior at ν=0,±1,±2 down to ∼2K where the onset of screening of the local moment becomes visible. This hints to very low Kondo temperatures at these fillings, in agreement with the outcome of our mean-field calculations. At non-integer filling ν=±0.5,±0.8,±1.2 DMFT shows deviations from a 1/T-susceptibility at much higher temperatures, suggesting a more effective screening of local moments with doping. Finally, we study the effect of a C3z-rotational-symmetry-breaking strain via mean-field approaches and find that a symmetric phase (that only breaks C3z symmetry) can be stabilized at sufficiently large strain at ν=0,±1,±2. Our results suggest that a symmetric Kondo phase is strongly suppressed at integer fillings, but could be stabilized either at non-integer fillings or by applying strain.

Controlling and understanding electron correlations in quantum matter is one of the most challenging tasks in materials engineering. In the past years a plethora of new puzzling correlated states have been found by carefully stacking and twisting two-dimensional van der Waals materials of different kind. Unique to these stacked structures is the emergence of correlated phases not foreseeable from the single layers alone. In Ta-dichalcogenide heterostructures made of a good metallic “1H”- and a Mott insulating “1T”-layer, recent reports have evidenced a cross-breed itinerant and localized nature of the electronic excitations, similar to what is typically found in heavy fermion systems. Here, we put forward a new interpretation based on first-principles calculations which indicates a sizeable charge transfer of electrons (0.4-0.6 e) from 1T to 1H layers at an elevated interlayer distance. We accurately quantify the strength of the interlayer hybridization which allows us to unambiguously determine that the system is much closer to a doped Mott insulator than to a heavy fermion scenario. Ta-based heterolayers provide therefore a new ground for quantum-materials engineering in the regime of heavily doped Mott insulators hybridized with metallic states at a van der Waals distance.