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Twisting van der Waals heterostructures to induce correlated many body states provides a novel tuning mechanism in solid state physics. In this work, we theoretically investigate the fate of the surface Dirac cone of a three-dimensional topological insulator subject to a superlattice potential. Using a combination of diagrammatic perturbation theory, lattice model simulations, and ab initio calculations we elucidate the unique aspects of twisting a single Dirac cone with an induced moiré potential and the role of the bulk topology on the reconstructed surface band structure. We report a dramatic renormalization of the surface Dirac cone velocity as well as demonstrate a topological obstruction to the formation of isolated minibands. Due to the topological nature of the bulk, surface band gaps cannot open; instead additional satellite Dirac cones emerge, which can be highly anisotropic and made quite flat. We discuss the implications of our findings for future experiments.

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Physical Review B