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Ferroelectric Superconductivity in a Transition Metal Dichalcogenide

For  the  first  time,  a  team  comprised  of two  IRG-1  theorists (Birol  and Fernandes)  working  with  experimentalists  from other  institutions  (including  the  Columbia  MRSEC)  showed the  coexistence  of  ferroelectricity  (i.e.,  electrostatically switchable     macroscopic     dipole     moment)     and superconductivity  in  a  two-dimensional  superconductor. The material is bilayer MoTe2, a member of the family of transition metal dichalcogenides, which are compounds of high interest in  IRG-1. This  important  result  opens  a  new  avenue  to  the control of superconductivity by electrostatic means. The  IRG-1  team’s  theoretical  approach  combined  first-principles  and  model  calculations.  Theoretical  calculations were  performed  by  IRG-1  student  Amartyajyoti  Saha.  The theoretical  analysis  attributes  the  unique  superconducting behavior  of  MoTe2  as  a  function  of  gating  to  an unconventional pairing state, thus shedding new light on the phenomenon   of   superconductivity   in   two-dimensional materials, of broad interest.