Nav: Home

A step towards quantum electronics

December 17, 2015

Work of physicists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), in which they connected two materials with unusual quantum-mechanical properties through a quantum constriction, could open up a novel path towards both a deeper understanding of physics and future electronic devices. Their results have just been published in the journal Science.

The researchers work with atoms that are trapped in laser beams and thus isolated from any external disturbance. Lasers are also used to cool the atoms to temperatures lower than those found anywhere else in the entire Universe. These 'ultracold' temperatures then enable creating clean materials that possess intriguing quantum-mechanical properties, such as unusual superconductivity. Thierry Giamarchi, professor at the UNIGE and responsible for the theoretical part of the study, explains: "In a cold-atom superconductor, the particles interact very strongly, whereas the interaction is usually very weak. This brings out strong-interaction effects through cooling could be compared to freezing water: the basic system is the same, but the result after cooling is very different."

The experimental team in Zurich, led by Tilman Esslinger and Jean-Philippe Brantut, has now overcome the challenges to efficiently transport ultracold atoms between two quantum superconductors with strong interactions through a single quantum point, a so-called quantum point contact. "With this new quantum connection, we can now reveal new effects in these superconducting quantum systems. It is a fundamental breakthrough in the way we can use quantum physics with cold atoms", says Giamarchi, from UNIGE's Faculty of Science.

A collaboration serving innovation

In general, it is difficult to produce a clean junction between quantum materials. Thanks to the collaboration between the teams in Geneva and Zurich, an important step has now been taken towards developing efficient junctions. For their ultracold atoms, the researchers produced junctions with a transparency close to 100 %. This advance is a crucial step towards understanding quantum transport in ultracold atoms and will enable fundamental studies of superconductors and other quantum materials. But interconnecting quantum materials such as superconductors might bring also new possibilities for more efficient information processing, beyond what is possible with techniques currently available for connecting, in computers and electronic devices, active elements such as transistors to form electronic circuits.

Now that junctions between quantum materials with strong interactions can be produced, scientists might eventually create novel materials that can be used in everyday applications. The unconventional approach developed in Geneva and Zurich therefore establishes the first basis for new technologies and opens up a new research direction that might lead to creating ultrafast and robust electronic networks -- a dream that many physicists share.
-end-


Université de Genève

Related Superconductors Articles:

Laser pulses reveal the superconductors of the future
A new study has revealed that the dream of more efficient energy usage can turn into reality.
Enhanced electron doping on iron superconductors discovered
The IBS research team headed by the associate director of CCES, Kim Chang Young, presented the possibility of unifying theories to explain the working mechanism of iron- based superconductors.
New ferromagnetic superconductors AEuFe4As4 (A = Rb, Cs)
The search for ferromagnetic superconductors, in which ferromagnetism coexists with superconductivity below their transition temperatures TFM and TSC (TFM < TSC), can trace back to before 1960s, however, a genuine FMSC that exhibits robust superconducting and ferromagnetic properties is absent to date.
Marrying superconductors, lasers, and Bose-Einstein condensates
As superconductors, lasers, and Bose-Einstein condensates all share a common feature, it has been expected that it should be able to see these features at the same time.
Quantum sensors for high-precision magnetometry of superconductors
Scientists from Basel have developed a new method that has enabled them to image magnetic fields on the nanometer scale at temperatures close to absolute zero for the first time.
Impossible superconductors gone live
The scientists from the Faculty of Physics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University conducted a study evaluating the appearance of the superconducting state in the iron-based superconductors with two energetic gaps.
Special topic: New unconventional superconductors and Weyl semimetal
In the 2016(5) issue, Science China Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy published a special topic on new unconventional superconductors and Weyl semimetal.
Scientists suggest a 100 times faster type of memory cell based on superconductors
Russian scientists have developed a fundamentally new type of memory cell based on superconductors -- this type of memory will be able to work hundreds of times faster than the types of memory devices commonly used today.
Clarifying the role of magnetism in high-temperature superconductors
A collaboration of scientists from the RIKEN SPring-8 Center, Osaka University, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, and the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute have published research clarifying the role of magnetism in a new type of high-temperature superconductor.
Physicists explain the unusual behavior of strongly disordered superconductors
Physicists Mikhail Feigel'man (the head of MIPT's theoretical nanophysics laboratory) and Lev Ioffe have explained the unusual effect in a number of promising superconductor materials.

Related Superconductors Reading:

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

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#513 Dinosaur Tails
This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands".