Registry-dependent potential energy and lattice corrugation of twisted bilayer graphene from quantum Monte Carlo

Kittithat Krongchon, Tawfiqur Rakib, Shivesh Pathak, Elif Ertekin, Harley T. Johnson, Lucas K. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An uncertainty in studying twisted bilayer graphene (TBG) is the minimum-energy geometry, which strongly affects the electronic structure. The minimum-energy geometry is determined by the potential-energy surface, which is dominated by van der Waals (vdW) interactions. In this paper, large-scale diffusion quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) simulations are performed to evaluate the energy of bilayer graphene at various interlayer distances for four stacking registries. An accurate registry-dependent potential is fit to the QMC data and is used to describe interlayer interactions in the geometry of near-magic-angle TBG. The band structure for the optimized geometry is evaluated using the accurate local-environment tight-binding model. We find that compared to QMC, DFT-based vdW interactions can result in errors in the corrugation magnitude by a factor of 2 or more near the magic angle. The error in corrugation then propagates to the flat bands in twisted bilayer graphene, where the error in corrugation can affect the bandwidth by about 30% and can change the nature and degeneracy of the flat bands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235403
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 15 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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