MacGyver Would be Proud: Fixing Quantum Computing with Scotch Tape
Scientists have been looking for a way to overcome conductivity limitations of quantum computing. To this point, the superconductors used for quantum computing only operated at extremely low temperatures. One of the keys to building a practical quantum computer is finding superconductors that work at the higher temperatures found in everyday conditions.
Researchers at the University of Toronto have been working on the problem, seeking new methods to overcome the problem of conductivity. Instead of attempting to manufacture a semiconductor with superconductor capability using chemical processes, the Toronto team went for something more basic. They used Scotch tape.
“Typically, junctions between semi-conductors and superconductors were made by complex material growth procedures and fabricating devices with features smaller than a human hair,” said Ken Burch, team leader and assistant professor of physics at the University of Toronto. “However, the cuprates (material that can be viewed as containing copper anions) have a completely different structure and complex chemical make-up that simply can’t be incorporated with a normal semiconductor.”
Put in simple terms, Burch used double-sided Scotch poster tape, two glass slides and a semiconducting material called a topological insulator. For those unfamiliar with the term, a topological insulator is a material that carries a current along its surface, but doesn’t conduct the current throughout the material. The resulting sandwich induced superconductivity at higher temperatures, which is physics first.
The results were published in a paper which can be found at Nature Communications, for those readers interested in greater detail. This breakthrough could lead to the creation of quantum chips using current chip production capabilities. I guess it isn’t true that Duct tape holds everything together.
Below you’ll find related news about a working quantum bit.