The invention of scanning probe microscopy revolutionized the way electronic phenomena are visualized1. Whereas present-day probes can access a variety of electronic properties at a single location in space2, a scanning microscope that can directly probe the quantum mechanical existence of an electron at several locations would provide direct access to key quantum properties of electronic systems, so far unreachable. Here, we demonstrate a conceptually new type of scanning probe microscope—the quantum twisting microscope (QTM)—capable of performing local interference experiments at its tip. The QTM is based on a unique van der Waals tip, allowing the creation of pristine two-dimensional junctions, which provide a multitude of coherently interfering paths for an electron to tunnel into a sample. With the addition of a continuously scanned twist angle between the tip and sample, this microscope probes electrons along a line in momentum space similar to how a scanning tunnelling microscope probes electrons along a line in real space. Through a series of experiments, we demonstrate room-temperature quantum coherence at the tip, study the twist angle evolution of twisted bilayer graphene, directly image the energy bands of monolayer and twisted bilayer graphene and, finally, apply large local pressures while visualizing the gradual flattening of the low-energy band of twisted bilayer graphene. The QTM opens the way for new classes of experiments on quantum materials.
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We thank P. Jarillo-Herrero, A. Kanigel, Y. Ronen, H. Steinberg and U. Zondiner for useful discussions and comments to the manuscript. Work was supported by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust grant, the Rosa and Emilio Segre Research Award, the ERC-Cog grant (See-1D-Qmatter, no. 647413) and the BSF grant (no. 2020260).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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This file contains Supplementary Sections 1–14, Figs. 1–24 and additional references.
Imaging TBG bands under pressure.
Tracing the TBG flat bands with the Dirac point of MLG.
Tracing the MLG probe bands using the TBG Dirac point.
Energy-momentum-conserving states in MLG–MLG junction versus twist angle.
Energy-momentum-conserving states in MLG–TBG junction versus bias.
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Inbar, A., Birkbeck, J., Xiao, J. et al. The quantum twisting microscope. Nature 614, 682–687 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05685-y
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