by Staff Writers
Vienna, Austria (SPX) Jul 27, 2017
Magnetic quantum objects in superconductors, so-called "fluxons", are particularly suitable for the storage and processing of data bits. Computer circuits based on fluxons could be operated with significantly higher speed and, at the same time, produce much less heat dissipation. Physicists around Wolfgang Lang at the University of Vienna and their colleagues at the Johannes-Kepler-University Linz have now succeeded in producing a "quantum egg-box" with a novel and simple method.
They realized a stable and regular arrangement of hundreds of thousands of fluxons - a groundbreaking progress for circuits based on fluxons. The results appear in the new journal Physical Review Applied of the renowned "American Physical Society".
Speeding up data processing in computers goes hand in hand with a greater heat generation, which limits the performance of fast computers. Researchers have therefore long been trying to develop digital circuits based on superconductors - those puzzling materials that can transport electricity completely without loss when cooled below a certain critical temperature.
Magnetic quantum objects in superconductors
The importance of the non-equilibrium
From the viewpoint of data processing, however, the fully-filled egg-box contains little information and is therefore useless. It would be much more useful to place the eggs in a predefined pattern. In such a way, for example, the QR code, recognized by smartphones, could be realized in an egg-box - obviously a large amount of information.
At the nanoscale, the researchers have now made a major step forward in this direction by demonstrating for the first time a stable non-equilibrium state of fluxons in an array of more than 180,000 artificial traps. Depending on the external magnetic field, the fluxons arrange themselves in terraced zones, in which each trap either captures no fluxon, exactly one, or even several fluxons.
"Even after days, we have observed precisely the same arrangement of fluxons - a long-term stability that is rather surprising for a quantum system," says Georg Zechner of the University of Vienna, the lead author of the study.
Nanopatterning of superconductors by ion beams
"Masked ion-beam irradiation allows for the fabrication of nanostructures in superconductors in a single step. It can be applied time-efficiently to large areas, can be ramped-up to an industrial scale and does not require any chemical processes," emphasizes Johannes D. Pedarnig of the Institute of Applied Physics at the Johannes-Kepler-University Linz.
Depending on the mask used, virtually any desired structure can be patterned into the superconductor. The scientists are now planning further experiments on more sophisticated nanostructures, which should demonstrate the systematic transfer of fluxons from one trap to the next. This could be another pioneering step towards the development of fast computer circuits based on fluxons.
Hamburg, Germany (SPX) Jul 24, 2017
Transistors, as used in billions on every computer chip, are nowadays based on semiconductor-type materials, usually silicon. As the demands for computer chips in laptops, tablets and smartphones continue to rise, new possibilities are being sought out to fabricate them inexpensively, energy-saving and flexibly. The group led by Dr. Christian Klinke has now succeeded in producing transisto ... read more
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