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Topological Superconductors Could Pave the Way for Quantum Computers in Future

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  • Aug 30, 2021

Superconductors are cardinal materials that can conduct electricity without any resistance if they are cooled below a certain temperature, which makes them highly covetable for energy consumption reduction. Superconductors manifest quantum properties on the scale of everyday objects, which makes them a crucial candidate for building quantum computers. Quantum computers use quantum physics to store data and perform computing operations so fast that they can by far outperform even the best of supercomputers in certain tasks. As a result, the demand from leading IT companies such as IBM, Google, and Microsoft to make quantum computers on an industrial scale with superconductors is increasing. However, the elementary units of quantum computers (qubits) are so extremely sensitive that they can lose their quantum properties due to electromagnetic fields, heat, and collisions with air molecules. This drawback can be overcome by making qubits from a special class of superconductors, which are referred to as topological superconductors, which, in addition to superconductivity, also have protected metallic states at their boundaries or surfaces.

Topological superconductors such as LaPt3P, recently discovered through muon spin relaxation experiments and extensive theoretical analysis, are exceptionally rare and of great value to the future quantum computing industry. To ensure that their properties are independent of the sample and the instrument used, two different sample sets were prepared. Muon experiments were then carried out in two different types of muon facilities at the ISIS Pulsed Neutron and Muon Source at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and at PSI, Switzerland. Sudeep Kumar Ghosh, Kent Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Kent and Principal Investigator, said, “This discovery of the topological superconductor LaPt3P has tremendous potential in quantum computing. The discovery of such a rare and sought-after component shows the importance of muon research in everyday life around us.”