- Sep 1, 2010
- 6,012 (2.18/day)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A team of Purdue University researchers is among a small group in the world that has successfully created ultrapure material that captures new states of matter and could have applications in high-speed quantum computing.
Yay! Or maybe nay?
Still long way to go ...
That's really cool. That's what they say. Let's see what's next:
Arrrgh those nasty electrons!
lolwut? I've stopped reading after that ...
Yay! Or maybe nay?
The material, gallium arsenide, is used to observe states in which electrons no longer obey the laws of single-particle physics, but instead are governed by their mutual interactions. Quantum computing is based on using the quantum mechanical behavior of electrons to create a new way to store and process information that is faster, more powerful and more efficient than classical computing. It taps into the ability of these particles to be put into a correlated state in which a change applied to one particle is instantly reflected by the others. If these processes can be controlled, they could be used to create parallel processing to perform calculations that are impossible on classical computers.
The research team designed and built equipment called a high-mobility gallium-arsenide molecular beam epitaxy system. The equipment makes ultrapure semiconductor materials with atomic-layer precision. The material is a perfectly aligned lattice of gallium and arsenic atoms that can capture electrons on a two-dimensional plane, eliminating their ability to move up and down and limiting their movement to front-to-back and side-to-side.
At room temperature, electrons are known to behave like billiard balls on a pool table, bouncing off of the sides and off of each other, and obey the laws of classical mechanics. As the temperature is lowered, electrons calm down and become aware of the presence of neighboring electrons. A collective motion of the electrons is then possible, and this collective motion is described by the laws of quantum mechanics. The electrons do a complex dance to try to find the best arrangement for them to achieve the minimum energy level and eventually form new patterns, or ground states.
"We are basically capturing the electrons within microscopic wells and forcing them to interact only with each other," he said. "The material must be very pure to accomplish this. Any impurities that made their way in would cause the electrons to scatter and ruin the fragile correlated state." The electrons also need to be cooled to extremely low temperatures - close to absolute zero ....