Evidence that a chiral superconductor could bring quantum computing closer to mass production

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This is further proof that a chiral superconductor is the key to commercialising quantum computing.

Researchers headed by physicists at the university of tennessee ut in knoxville tennessee usa found that silicon a key component of the multibillion dollar electronics industry has the potential to facilitate the mass manufacturing of upcoming quantum technologies the results which were published in nature physics included electronic ambidexterity or the ability to use both hands to operate a device in this area we give a translation of an essay first published by the university of tennessee ut on february 9 2023 and republished by physorg on the same day lets check over the details superconducting dance floor couples a superconductor is a material that allows electricity to flow through it without being impeded in any way there are a wide variety of applications for these including quantum computers ultra-sensitive magnetic sensors and magnetic resonance medical equipment like particle accelerators an amazing demonstration of quantum physics at work on a macroscopic scale superconductivity is a phenomenon not to be missed electrons are the basis for everything due to their negative charge electrons in a vacuum tend to avoid one other in a solid-state media such as metals and semiconductors however there are around 1023 additional positive electrons and ions that substantially confuse the picture conducting electrons in a superconductor are attracted to one other despite their natural tendency to repel one another this leads to the formation of composite particles called cooper pairs named after nobel winner leon cooper which couple up like dancers for metals atomic vibrations provide the glue that facilitates pairing but only if the repulsion between the electrons is not excessive this action is analogous to two persons the electrons sitting on a soft mattress the middle and rolling towards each other while the mattress is crushed in the centre cooper pairs unlike single electrons are required by quantum physics to be able to collapse into a single coherent quantum state in which they move in sync with one another since the condensate is so rigid the current can flow through it without being impeded or dissipated hence the name superconductor aluminium tin and lead are examples of typical superconductors s-wave produced by this method for example a d-wave superconductor is formed when electrons couple up in higher angular momentum states to prevent them from approaching one other too closely under weak repulsion materials based on copper and oxygen cuprates are discussed in a future-oriented study that was just published in nature physics electron theft members of their team from the united states and europe including prof hanno weitering and associate prof steve johnston have been hard at work on this in order to create a material with properties similar to cuprate scientists in the united states spain and china grew a monolayer of tin atoms on a silicon substrate nine silicon atoms would make up one layer with three tin atoms wider apart making up the upper layer because of how the system is constructed tin electrons are so strongly repelled from one another that they are unable to travel and hence do not exhibit superconductivity implanting boron atoms into the diamond-like crystal structure of the silicon layer was the ingenious solution developed by weitering johnston and their coworkers boron atoms then continued to borrow electrons from the tin layer usually about 10 a process similar to those pioneered by the semiconductor industry since then the leftover electrons in tin have been free to roam in this way the tin layer became metallic and even superconducting at a temperature greater than the critical temperature of almost all elementary superconductors an important finding was that as with cuprate superconductors the phenomena became more severe when more boron atoms or electrons were removed using quantum computation and time reversal in real-world applications despite the inherent novelty of electron-stealing superconductivity the research team discovered even more intriguing physics indicating the presence of chiral superconductivity in this tin-silicon material due in part to its applications in quantum computing this very unusual form of matter is in great demand the left and right hands for example are not mirror copies of each other but rather are distinct entities that cannot be overlapped this is an example of a chiral system a left-handed right-handed or topologically trivial mathematical wave function represents the characteristics of a single electron or an electron pair in quantum mechanics in certain areas of the sample the superconducting wave function in the tin layer is clockwise whereas in others it is anticlockwise turning back the clock would make the clockwise wave function anticlockwise and vice versa yet these two wave functions are still distinct just as the left hand and the right hand are different in physics this is known as a broken time reversal symmetry chiral superconductivity is characterised by the violation of the time-reversal symmetry moreover the system features two one-dimensional conduction channels that like railway tracks run around the outside of the material being tested the particles and their antiparticles are indistinguishable under certain circumstances inside these channels since majorana particles a type of fermion that is also its own antiparticle are topologically protected they are immune to external influences they have been envisioned as the foundation for future quantum computers a rapidly developing field that may one day aid in the resolution of problems beyond the capabilities of traditional digital processing in order for quantum computing to be effective decoherence must be prevented at all costs using majorana particles suggests this can be done taken as a whole the findings published in nature physics raise the intriguing prospect of combining unusual features with a readily scalable silicon-based materials platform this would pave the way for the widespread commercialization of quantum technologies of the future