Existence of the first magic angle for the chiral model of bilayer graphene

Alexander B. Watson, Mitchell Luskin

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We consider the chiral model of twisted bilayer graphene introduced by Tarnopolsky, Kruchkov, and Vishwanath (TKV). TKV proved that for inverse twist angles α such that the effective Fermi velocity at the moiré K point vanishes, the chiral model has a perfectly flat band at zero energy over the whole Brillouin zone. By a formal expansion, TKV found that the Fermi velocity vanishes at α ≈ 0.586. In this work, we give a proof that the Fermi velocity vanishes for at least one α between 0.57 and 0.61 by rigorously justifying TKV’s formal expansion of the Fermi velocity over a sufficiently large interval of α values. The idea of the proof is to project the TKV Hamiltonian onto a finite-dimensional subspace and then expand the Fermi velocity in terms of explicitly computable linear combinations of modes in the subspace while controlling the error. The proof relies on two propositions whose proofs are computer-assisted, i.e., numerical computation together with worst-case estimates on the accumulation of round-off error, which show that round-off error cannot possibly change the conclusion of computation. The propositions give a bound below on the spectral gap of the projected Hamiltonian, an Hermitian 80 × 80 matrix whose spectrum is symmetric about 0, and verify that two real 18-th order polynomials, which approximate the numerator of the Fermi velocity, take values with a definite sign when evaluated at specific values of α. Together with TKV’s work, our result proves the existence of at least one perfectly flat band of the chiral model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number091502
JournalJournal of Mathematical Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
M.L. and A.B.W. were supported, in part, by ARO MURI Award No. W911NF-14-0247 and NSF DMREF Award No. 1922165.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Author(s).


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