The best brains in physics for 2018 have been recognized. In an event that held on the 13th of December, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his colleagues were announced winners of the Physics World 2018 Breakthrough of the Year for making the discovery that led to the development of “twistronics”.
The researchers discovered Mott insulator behaviour in pristine bilayer graphene when the orientation of the two layers were twisted by a specific angle, report’s Physics world.
Jarillo-Herror and his colleagues discovered that placing two layers of graphene together, but rotated relative to one another at the ‘magic’ angle of 1.1° turns the normally metallic material into a superconductor.
This unique breakthrough distinguished the researchers among others, leading to their recognition for this award.
Twistronics is a fundamentally new approach to device engineering.
Professor Jarillo-Herrero has an intimidating pedigree in physics. His research interests are primarily focused on experimental condensed matter physics, in particular quantum electronic transport and optoelectronics in novel two-dimensional materials, with special emphasis on investigating their superconducting, magnetic, and topological properties.
Checkout his biographical sketch as posted on web.mit.edu:
Pablo Jarillo-Herrero is currently Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics at MIT. He joined MIT as an assistant professor of physics in January 2008. He received his “Licenciatura” in physics from the University of Valencia, Spain, in 1999. Then he spent two years at the University of California in San Diego, where he received a M.Sc. degree before going to the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, where he earned his Ph.D. in 2005. After a one-year postdoc in Delft, he moved to Columbia University, where he worked as a NanoResearch Initiative Fellow. His awards include the Spanish Royal Society Young Investigator Award (2006), an NSF Career Award (2008), an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (2009), a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship (2009), the IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Semiconductor Physics (2010), a DOE Early Career Award (2011), a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE, 2012), an ONR Young Investigator Award (2013), an a Moore Foundation Experimental Physics in Quantum Systems Investigator Award (2014). Prof. Jarillo-Herrero was selected as a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics-Web of Science (2017 & 2018), and elected as APS Fellow (2018). He was promoted to Full Professor of Physics in 2018.
Professor Jarillo-Herrero us truly a living legend in condensed physics. No surprise he led the team that pioneered such a unique breakthrough.