Nav: Home

Controlling quantum interactions in a single material

February 05, 2018

The search and manipulation of novel properties emerging from the quantum nature of matter could lead to next-generation electronics and quantum computers. But finding or designing materials that can host such quantum interactions is a difficult task.

"Harmonizing multiple quantum mechanical properties, which often do not coexist together, and trying to do it by design is a highly complex challenge," said Northwestern University's James Rondinelli.

But Rondinelli and an international team of theoretical and computational researchers have done just that. Not only have they demonstrated that multiple quantum interactions can coexist in a single material, the team also discovered how an electric field can be used to control these interactions to tune the material's properties.

This breakthrough could enable ultrafast, low-power electronics and quantum computers that operate incredibly faster than current models in the areas of data acquisition, processing, and exchange.

Supported by the US Army Research Office, National Science Foundation of China, German Research Foundation, and China's National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, the research was published online today in the journal Nature Communications. James Rondinelli, the Morris E. Fine Junior Professor in Materials and Manufacturing in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering, and Cesare Franchini, professor of quantum materials modeling at the University of Vienna, are the paper's co-corresponding authors. Jiangang He, a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern, and Franchini served as the paper's co-first authors.

Quantum mechanical interactions govern the capability of and speed with which electrons can move through a material. This determines whether a material is a conductor or insulator. It also controls whether or not the material exhibits ferroelectricity, or shows an electrical polarization.

"The possibility of accessing multiple order phases, which rely on different quantum-mechanical interactions in the same material, is a challenging fundamental issue and imperative for delivering on the promises that quantum information sciences can offer," Franchini said.

Using computational simulations performed at the Vienna Scientific Cluster, the team discovered coexisting quantum-mechanical interactions in the compound silver-bismuth-oxide. Bismuth, a post-transition metal, enables the spin of the electron to interact with its own motion -- a feature that has no analogy in classical physics. It also does not exhibit inversion symmetry, suggesting that ferroelectricity should exist when the material is an electrical insulator. By applying an electric field to the material, researchers were able to control whether the electron spins were coupled in pairs (exhibiting Weyl-fermions) or separated (exhibiting Rashba-splitting) as well as whether the system is electrically conductive or not.

"This is the first real case of a topological quantum transition from a ferroelectric insulator to a non-ferroelectric semi-metal," Franchini said. "This is like awakening a different kind of quantum interactions that are quietly sleeping in the same house without knowing each other."
-end-


Northwestern University

Related Quantum Computers Articles:

Blanket of light may give better quantum computers
Researchers from DTU Physics describe in an article in Science, how--by simple means -- they have created a 'carpet' of thousands of quantum-mechanically entangled light pulses.
One step closer future to quantum computers
Physicists at Uppsala University in Sweden have identified how to distinguish between true and 'fake' Majorana states in one of the most commonly used experimental setups, by means of supercurrent measurements.
Dartmouth research advances noise cancelling for quantum computers
The characterization of complex noise in quantum computers is a critical step toward making the systems more precise.
Spreading light over quantum computers
Scientists at Linköping University have shown how a quantum computer really works and have managed to simulate quantum computer properties in a classical computer.
Newfound superconductor material could be the 'silicon of quantum computers'
Newly discovered properties in the compound uranium ditelluride show that it could prove highly resistant to one of the nemeses of quantum computer development -- the difficulty with making such a computer's memory storage switches, called qubits, function long enough to finish a computation before losing the delicate physical relationship that allows them to operate as a group.
Quantum computers to clarify the connection between the quantum and classical worlds
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have developed a new quantum computing algorithm that offers a clearer understanding of the quantum-to-classical transition, which could help model systems on the cusp of quantum and classical worlds, such as biological proteins, and also resolve questions about how quantum mechanics applies to large-scale objects.
The best of both worlds: how to solve real problems on modern quantum computers
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, along with researchers at Clemson University and Fujitsu Laboratories of America, have developed hybrid algorithms to run on size-limited quantum machines and have demonstrated them for practical applications.
A new theory for trapping light particles aims to advance development of quantum computers
Researchers have developed a new protocol for ensuring the stability of data when photons are stored for extended periods of time.
Improving quantum computers
For decades, experts have predicted that quantum computers will someday perform difficult tasks, such as simulating complex chemical systems, that can't be done by conventional computers.
A new hope of quantum computers for factorizations of RSA with a thousand-fold excess
Universal quantum computers are still in its infancy that cannot achieve practical applications (code-cracking) in near term.
More Quantum Computers News and Quantum Computers Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.