Nature Communications

Imaging moiré deformation and dynamics in twisted bilayer graphene

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In ‘magic angle’ twisted bilayer graphene (TBG) a flat band forms, yielding correlated insulator behavior and superconductivity. In general, the moiré structure in TBG varies spatially, influencing the overall conductance properties of devices. Hence, to understand the wide variety of phase diagrams observed, a detailed understanding of local variations is needed. Here, we study spatial and temporal variations of the moiré pattern in TBG using aberration-corrected Low Energy Electron Microscopy (AC-LEEM). We find a smaller spatial variation than reported previously. Furthermore, we observe thermal fluctuations corresponding to collective atomic displacements over 70 pm on a timescale of seconds. Remarkably, no untwisting is found up to 600 ∘C. We conclude that thermal annealing can be used to decrease local disorder. Finally, we observe edge dislocations in the underlying atomic lattice, the moiré structure acting as a magnifying glass. These topological defects are anticipated to exhibit unique local electronic properties.