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Collaboration provides promising material for quantum computing



Collaboration provides promising material for quantum computing

Illustration a: Graphic showing the three materials combined to form the new material. Al is the aluminum superconductor, EuS is the new addition, the europium sulphide ferromagnet, and InAs is the indium arsenide semiconductor. In combination, they allow the existence of the desired Majorana null states, enabling the quantum thread unit to be an integral component of a topological quantum computer. Illustration b: Electron micrograph showing the wire (blue / gray) between gate electrodes (yellow). The gate is needed to control the density of the electrons and the electron tunnel through the wire from the source (bias). The main advantage of this system is that a large magnetic field has become redundant, as a magnetic field can have potential negative effects on other components in the vicinity. In other words, this result has made actual use much more likely. The length of the wire in the illustration is 2 micrometers = 0.002 millimeters and thickness 100 nanometers = 0.0001 millimeters. Credit: University of Copenhagen

Researchers at the Microsoft Quantum Materials Lab and the University of Copenhagen, who work closely together, have managed to realize an important and promising material for use in a future quantum computer. To this end, researchers need to create materials that contain the delicate quantum information and protect it from decoherence.


The so-called topological conditions seem to hold this promise, but one of the challenges has been that a large magnetic field should be used. With the new material, it has become possible to realize topological states without the magnetic field. “The result is one of many new developments that are needed before an actual quantum computer is realized, but along the way a better understanding of how quantum systems work and may be applied to medicines, catalysts or materials will be some of the positive side effects of this. research, “explains Professor Charles Marcus. The scientific article is now published in Natural physics

Topological conditions are promising – but there are many challenges along the way

Topological conditions in condensed plants have created enormous excitement and activity in the last decade, including the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2016. There is a natural fault tolerance of the so-called Majorana zero states, which makes topological states ideal for quantum calculation. However, progress in realizing topological Majorana zero states has been hampered by the requirement for large magnetic fields to induce the topological phase, which comes at a cost: the system must be operated in a large magnet bore and each topological segment must be precisely aligned with the field .

The new results report a key signature for topological superconductivity, but now in the absence of an applied magnetic field. A thin layer of the material europium sulfide (EuS), whose internal magnetism naturally aligns with the axis of the nanowire and induces an effective magnetic field (more than ten thousand times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field) in the superconducting and semiconductor components sufficient to induce the topological superconducting phase.

Professor Charles Marcus explains the progress in this way: “The combination of three components in a single crystal – semiconductor, superconductor, ferromagnetic insulator – a triple hybrid – is new. It is good news that it forms a topological superconductor at low temperature “This gives us a new way to manufacture components for topological quantum computation and gives physicists a new physical system to explore.”

The new results will soon be used to construct qubit

The next step will be to apply these results to get closer to realizing the actual working qubit. So far, researchers have been working on physics, and now they are in the process of constructing an actual device. This device, qubit, is essentially for a quantum computer what the transistor is for the regular computer we know today. It is the unit that performs the calculations, but this is where the comparison ends. The potential for the performance of a quantum computer is so great that today we are not even really able to imagine the possibilities.


Quantum research combines two ideas that offer an alternative route to topological superconductivity


More information:
S. Vaitiekėnas et al., Zero bias peaks at zero magnetic field in ferromagnetic hybrid nanowires, Natural physics (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41567-020-1017-3

Provided by the University of Copenhagen

Citation: Collaboration provides promising material for quantum computing (2020, September 16) retrieved September 17, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-09-collaboration-yields-material-quantum.html

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