Will twisted superconducting flakes make better components for quantum computers? – ScienceDaily


Researchers at the University of Bath in the UK have found a way to make ‘single crystal flake’ devices so thin and flawless that they have the potential to outperform components used in computer circuits today. quantum.

The study is published this month in the journal Nano letters.

The team at the university’s physics department made their discovery by exploring the junction between two layers of superconducting niobium diselenide (NbSe?) By cleaving, twisting and recombining the two layers, the researchers were able to build an interferometer superconducting quantum (SQUID) – an extremely sensitive sensor used to measure incredibly small magnetic fields.

SQUIDs have a wide range of important applications in areas that include healthcare (as seen in cardiology and magnetoencephalography – a test that maps brain function) and mineral exploration.

SQUIDS are also the building blocks of today’s commercial quantum computers – machines that perform certain computational tasks much faster than conventional computers. Quantum computing is still in its infancy, but over the next decade it has the potential to transform the problem-solving ability of businesses and organizations across many industries, for example by accelerating the discovery of new drugs and materials.

“Due to their atomically perfect surfaces, which are almost entirely flawless, we see the potential for our crystalline flakes to play an important role in building the quantum computers of the future,” said Professor Simon Bending, who led research with his doctoral student Liam Farrar. “In addition, SQUIDs are ideal for studies in biology – for example, they are now used to trace the path of magnetically labeled drugs through the gut – so we are very happy to see how our devices could be developed in this. land too. “

As Professor Bending is quick to point out, however, his work on SQUIDs performed using NbSe? flakes is at the very start of its journey. “This is a completely new and unexplored approach to making SQUIDs and a lot of research will still need to be done before these applications become a reality,” he said.

Extremely fine single crystals

The flakes from which Bath superconductors are made are extremely thin single crystals (10,000 times thinner than a human hair) that bend easily, making them also suitable for being incorporated into flexible electronic components, such as ‘used in computer keyboards, optical displays, solar cells and various automotive components.

Because the bonds between the layers of NbSe? are so weak that the cleaved flakes – with their perfectly flat, flawless surfaces – create atomically sharp interfaces when they are brought together again. This makes them excellent candidates for components used in quantum computing.

While this is not the first time that NbSe₂ layers have been stamped together to create a weak superconducting bond, it is the first demonstration of quantum interference between two such junctions modeled in a pair of twisted flakes. This quantum interference allowed the researchers to modulate the maximum supercurrent that could pass through their SQUIDs by applying a small magnetic field, creating an extremely sensitive field sensor. They were also able to show that the properties of their devices could be systematically adjusted by varying the angle of torsion between the two flakes.

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Material provided by University of Bath. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.

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