Niobium Diselenide
Science & Technology

Researchers Uncover Unique Properties of a Promising New Superconductor for Quantum Computing

A workforce of physicists led by the College of Minnesota has found that the distinctive superconducting steel Niobium diselenide (NbSe2) is extra resilient when used as a very skinny layer. The above diagram depicts the totally different s-, p-, and d-wave superconducting states within the steel. Credit score: Alex Hamill and Brett Heischmidt, College of Minnesota

A global workforce of physicists led by the College of Minnesota has found that a distinctive superconducting steel is extra resilient when used as a very skinny layer. The analysis is step one towards a bigger objective of understanding unconventional superconducting states in supplies, which might probably be utilized in quantum computing sooner or later.

The collaboration contains 4 college members within the College of Minnesota’s College of Physics and Astronomy—Affiliate Professor Vlad Pribiag, Professor Rafael Fernandes, and Assistant Professors Fiona Burnell and Ke Wang—together with physicists at Cornell College and several other different establishments. The examine is revealed in Nature Physics, a month-to-month, peer-reviewed scientific journal revealed by Nature Analysis.

Niobium diselenide (NbSe2) is a superconducting steel, which means that it might conduct electrical energy, or transport electrons from one atom to a different, with no resistance. It isn’t unusual for supplies to behave in a different way when they’re at a very small dimension, however NbSe2 has doubtlessly helpful properties. The researchers discovered that the fabric in 2D kind (a very skinny substrate solely a few atomic layers thick) is a extra resilient superconductor as a result of it has a two-fold symmetry, which may be very totally different from thicker samples of the identical materials.

Motivated by Fernandes and Burnell’s theoretical prediction of unique superconductivity on this 2D materials, Pribiag and Wang began to research atomically-thin 2D superconducting units.

“We anticipated it to have a six-fold rotational sample, like a snowflake,” Wang mentioned. “Regardless of the six-fold construction, it solely confirmed two-fold conduct within the experiment.”

“This was one of the primary instances [this phenomenon] was seen in a actual materials,” Pribiag mentioned.

The researchers attributed the newly-discovered two-fold rotational symmetry of the superconducting state in NbSe2 to the blending between two carefully competing varieties of superconductivity, specifically the standard s-wave kind—typical of bulk NbSe2—and an unconventional d- or p-type mechanism that emerges in few-layer NbSe2. The 2 varieties of superconductivity have very related energies on this system. As a result of of this, they work together and compete with one another.

Pribiag and Wang mentioned they later grew to become conscious that physicists at Cornell College have been reviewing the identical physics utilizing a totally different experimental method, specifically quantum tunneling measurements. They determined to mix their outcomes with the Cornell analysis and publish a complete examine.

Burnell, Pribiag, and Wang plan to construct on these preliminary outcomes to additional examine the properties of atomically skinny NbSe2 together with different unique 2D supplies, which might finally result in the use of unconventional superconducting states, similar to topological superconductivity, to construct quantum computer systems.

“What we wish is a utterly flat interface on the atomic scale,” Pribiag mentioned. “We consider this technique will be capable to give us a higher platform to check supplies to make use of them for quantum computing purposes.”

Reference: “Two-fold symmetric superconductivity in few-layer NbSe2” by Alex Hamill, Brett Heischmidt, Egon Sohn, Daniel Shaffer, Kan-Ting Tsai, Xi Zhang, Xiaoxiang Xi, Alexey Suslov, Helmuth Berger, László Forró, Fiona J. Burnell, Jie Shan, Kin Fai Mak, Rafael M. Fernandes, Ke Wang and Vlad S. Pribiag, 15 April 2021, Nature Physics.
DOI: 10.1038/s41567-021-01219-x

Along with Pribiag, Fernandes, Burnell, Wang, the collaboration included College of Minnesota physics graduate college students Alex Hamill, Brett Heischmidt, Daniel Shaffer, Kan-Ting Tsai, and Xi Zhang; Cornell College college members Jie Shan and Kin Fai Mak and graduate scholar Egon Sohn; Helmuth Berger and László Forró, researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland; Alexey Suslov, a researcher on the Nationwide Excessive Magnetic Subject Laboratory in Tallahassee, Fla.; and Xiaoxiang Xi, a professor at Nanjing College in China.

The College of Minnesota analysis was supported primarily by the Nationwide Science Basis (NSF) by the College of Minnesota Supplies Analysis Science and Engineering Middle (MRSEC). The analysis at Cornell was supported by the Workplace of Naval Analysis (ONR) and NSF. The work in Switzerland was supported by the Swiss Nationwide Science Basis.

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