Northeastern University Research Leading to Superconductor Use in Quantum Computing

Superconductor or not? They’re exploring the identity crisis of this weird quantum material.

Excerpts and salient points ~

+  Northeastern researchers have used a powerful computer model to probe a puzzling class of copper-based materials that can be turned into superconductors. Their findings offer tantalizing clues for a decades-old mystery, and a step forward for quantum computing. The ability of a material to let electricity flow comes from the way electrons within their atoms are arranged. Depending on these arrangements, or configurations, all materials out there are either insulators or conductors of electricity.

But with fascination came 30 years of bewilderment: Scientists have not been able to fully decipher the arrangement of electrons that encodes for superconductivity in cuprates.

+  But cuprates, a class of mysterious materials that are made from copper oxides, are famous in the scientific community for having somewhat of an identity issue that can make them both insulators and conductors. Under normal conditions, cuprates are insulators: materials that inhibit the flow of electrons. But with tweaks to their composition, they can transform into the world’s best superconductors.

+  Mapping the electronic configuration of these materials is arguably one of the toughest challenges in theoretical physics, says Arun Bansil, University Distinguished Professor of physics at Northeastern. And, he says, because superconductivity is a weird phenomenon that only happens at temperatures as low as -300 F (or about as cold as it gets on Uranus), figuring out the mechanisms that make it possible in the first place could help researchers make superconductors that work at room temperature.

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Source:  News@Northeastern.  Roberto Molar Candanosa,  Superconductor or not? They’re exploring the identity crisis of this weird quantum material.…

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