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The quantum twisting microscope


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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Fig. 1: The QTM setup and in situ twistronics experiments.
Fig. 2: Momentum-resolved tunnelling between two twisted graphene monolayers.
Fig. 3: QTM imaging of the energy bands of TBG.
Fig. 4: Imaging the effects of applied pressure on the TBG energy bands.

Data availability

The data shown in this paper are provided with this paper. Additional data that support the plots and other analysis in this work are available from the corresponding author upon request.


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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).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



A.I., J.B., J.X. and S.I. designed the experiment. A.I., J.B. and J.X. built the setup, fabricated the devices and performed the experiments. A.I., J.B., J.X. and S.I. analysed the data. J.X., B.Y., Y.O., A.S. and E.B. wrote the theoretical models. K.W. and T.T. supplied the hBN crystals. A.I., J.B., J.X., A.S., E.B. and S.I. wrote the manuscript with input from other authors.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. Birkbeck.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Nature thanks Raymond Ashoori and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains Supplementary Sections 1–14, Figs. 1–24 and additional references.

Supplementary Video 1

Imaging TBG bands under pressure.

Supplementary Video 2

Tracing the TBG flat bands with the Dirac point of MLG.

Supplementary Video 3

Tracing the MLG probe bands using the TBG Dirac point.

Supplementary Video 4

Energy-momentum-conserving states in MLG–MLG junction versus twist angle.

Supplementary Video 5

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).

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