Ever since the isolation of graphene, two dimensional materials have been all the rage. Research into 2D materials are abound, as these materials have great potential uses in a wide range of fields such as photovoltaics, semiconductors, and electrodes. Now, researchers from the University of California, Irvine have delved into the physics behind these 2D material to unlock their full potential to push computers to whole new levels of speed and efficiency.
In a research paper published in the journal Nature, researchers from UCI have written that the development of 2D quantum materials have created a major breakthrough in the electrical and magnetic properties that could possibly make topological quantum computers go from a theoretical concept to reality.
Source: RD Mag
“Finally, we can take exotic, high-end theories in physics and make something useful,” says Jing Xia, Associate professor of physics and astronomy at UCI. “We’re exploring the possibility of making topological quantum computers for the next 100 years.”
The researchers had developed a compound called chromium germanium telluride (CGT), which, simply put, is super thin carbon film. Having similar properties as graphene, it could probably replace silicon in the next generation of computers. Unlike graphene however, it also has magnetic properties that make it a viable material for creating new memory and storage systems for computers.
In another study published in the journal Science Adavances, the UCI team had observed another material. Under the Sagnac interferometer, they found that in the interface between bismuth and nickel there’s “an exotic superconductor that breaks time-reversal symmetry.”
Unlike silicon that uses electrons to conduct electric signals, these two materials conduct electric signals via Dirac or Majorana fermions, which don’t have mass. This allows electronic particles that can move at almost the speed of light, and are ideal for braiding operations which are necessary for quantum computing.
“The issue now is to try to achieve this at normal temperatures,” says Xia. A separate study in the journal Nature Materials, have delved into that very topic, and have shown that it is indeed possible to stabilize 2D surface states. This is needed for quantum computers, as the ones we have today are already limited by extreme conditions to allow quantum bits, aka qubits, to function. Qubits are what makes quantum computers so powerful. Where regular binary bits have to be either 1 or 0, Qubits can be both at the same time, allowing them to process information better. The 2D materials these researchers have been working on are the key to creating better processors for these qubits.
Once quantum computers become workable in regular conditions thanks to these researches, they will change the way research is done in itself, and we’ll be able to solve the world’s most complex problems faster than ever.