Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes

Van der Waals 2D materials: optical manifestations of the quantum physics of moiré superlattices

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Prof A Tartakovskii Applications accepted all year round Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Sheffield United Kingdom Experimental Physics Optical Physics Quantum Mechanics Solid State Physics

About the Project

Atomically-thin layers of two-dimensional materials can be assembled in vertical stacks (called ‘heterostructures’), which are held together by relatively weak van der Waals forces, allowing for coupling between monolayer crystals with incommensurate lattices and arbitrary mutual rotation, or ‘twist’. The twist is a new degree of freedom recently discovered in 2D materials and now widely used in the design of 2D heterostructures. It leads to a new in-plane periodicity in the local atomic registry of the constituent crystal structures, known as a moiré superlattice. The moiré superlattice has a dramatic effect on the motion of electrons in the plane of the 2D structure. For example, when two monolayers of graphene are attached to each other with a ‘magic twist angle’ a superconductor-insulator transition is observed. Similarly, in 2D semiconductors, the twist has been shown to lead to a variety of unusual optical phenomena as we reported in our recent work in Nature ( In this project, this new degree of freedom will be explored in a variety of layered materials and new phenomena and physics will be sought. 

You will join an energetic team of 3 PhD students and 3 postdocs. You will work on novel device fabrication in the modern clean room, and will carry out a large number of optical experiments in the extremely well-funded state-of-the-art laboratories of the Sheffield group, including the new near-field optical spectroscopy facility that will start its operation in 2021 (see grant award details here: You will further collaborate with leading groups around the world on physics and technology of 2D materials and nano-photonics. We work closely with the leading groups in many related research fields, including 2D materials (National Graphene Institute, Manchester), nano-photonics and materials (Imperial College London and York University), and optical spectroscopy (Technical University Dortmund) and many others, and visits to their experimental facilities will be possible and encouraged. See further details at This project is directly linked to the new EPSRC project Quantum Materials by Twistronics in collaboration with Manchester:

For formal and informal enquiries please get in touch with Professor Alexander Tartakovskii at '

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