Physicists create new magnetic material to unleash quantum computers: ScienceAlert | Albiseyler

Physicists create new magnetic material to unleash quantum computers: ScienceAlert

Quantum behavior is a strange, fragile thing that hovers on the edge of reality, between the world of possibilities and the universe of absolutes. In this mathematical haze lies the potential of quantum computing; the promise of devices that could quickly solve algorithms that would take classical computers too long to process.

For now, quantum computers are limited to cooling rooms near absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius) where particles less likely to fall out of their critical quantum states.

Break this temperature barrier to develop materials that still exhibit quantum properties at room temperatures has long been the goal quantum computing. Although the low temperatures help prevent the particles’ properties from breaking down beyond their useful mist, the bulk and cost of the devices limit their potential and ability to be scaled up for general use.

In one final attempt, a team of researchers at the University of Texas, El Paso has developed a highly magnetic quantum computing material that retains its magnetism at room temperature—and contains none of the highly sought-after rare earth minerals.

“I really doubted its magnetism, but our results clearly show superparamagnetic behavior,” he says Ahmed El-Gendy, lead author and physicist at the University of Texas, El Paso.

Superparamagnetism is a controllable form of magnetism where the application of an external magnetic field balances the magnetic moments of a material and magnetizes it.

Molecular magnets, like the material developed by El-Gendy and colleagues, have returned to the fore as one of the possibilities of creation qubitsthe basic unit of quantum information.

Magnets are already used in our current computers and were at the rudder spintronicsdevices that, in addition to the electronic charge, also use the direction of electron rotation to encode data.

Another could be quantum computers with magnetic materials which gives rise to spin qubits: pairs of particles, such as electrons, whose directional spins are linked, albeit temporarily, at the quantum level.

Aware of the demand for rare earth minerals used in batteries, El-Gendy and his colleagues experimented instead with a mixture of materials known as aminoferrocene and graphene.

Only when the researchers synthesized the material in a sequence of steps, rather than adding all the composite components at once, did the material exhibit its magnetism at room temperature.

The sequential synthesis method sandwiched aminoferrocene between two layers of graphene oxide, creating a material 100 times more magnetic than pure iron. Further experiments confirmed that the material retained its magnetic properties at and above room temperature.

“These findings open avenues for long-range, room-temperature molecular magnets and their potential for quantum computing and data storage applications,” El-Gendy and colleagues write in their published article.

Of course, more tests of this new material will be needed to see if the results can be replicated by other groups. But the progress in this field of molecular magnets is encouraging and offers another promising possibility to create stable qubits.

In 2019, Eugenio Coronado, a materials scientist at the University of Valencia in Spain, he wrote: “Milestones achieved in the design of molecular spin qubits with long quantum coherence times and in the implementation of quantum operations have raised expectations for the use of molecular spin qubits in quantum computing.”

Recently, in 2021, researchers developed an ultra-thin magnetic material just one atom thick. Not only could its magnetic intensity be fine-tuned for quantum computing purposes, but it also works at room temperature.

The study was published in Letters in Applied Physics.

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