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 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 worlds best superconductors.
The finding of this kind of superconductivity in 1986 won its discoverers a Nobel Prize in 1987, and fascinated the scientific community with a world of possibilities for improvements to supercomputing and other crucial technologies.
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.
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.
Now, a team of researchers that includes Bansil and Robert Markiewicz, a professor of physics at Northeastern, is presenting a new way to model these strange mechanisms that lead to superconductivity in cuprates.
In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team accurately predicted the behavior of electrons as they move to enable superconductivity in a group of cuprates known as yttrium barium copper oxides.
In these cuprates, the study finds, superconductivity emerges from many types of electron configurations. A whopping 26 of them, to be specific.
During this transition phase, the material will in essence become some kind of a soup of different phases, Bansil says. The split personalities of these wonderful materials are being now revealed for the first time.
The physics within cuprate superconductors are intrinsically weird. Markiewicz thinks of that complexity as the classical Indian myth of the blind men and the elephant, which has been a joke for decades among theoretical physicists who study cuprates.
According to the myth, blind men meet an elephant for the first time, and try to understand what the animal is by touching it. But because each of them touches only one part of its bodythe trunk, tail, or legs, for examplethey all have a different (and limited) concept of what an elephant is.
In the beginning, we all looked [at cuprates] in different ways, Markiewicz says. But we knew that, sooner or later, the right way was going to show up.
The mechanisms behind cuprates could also help explain the puzzling physics behind other materials that turn into superconductors at extreme temperatures , Markiewicz says, and revolutionize the way they can be used to enable quantum computing and other technologies that process data at ultra-fast speeds.
Were trying to understand how they come together in the real cuprates that are used in experiments, Markiewicz says.
The challenge of modeling cuprate superconductors comes down to the weird field of quantum mechanics, which studies the behavior and movement of the tiniest bits of matterand the strange physical rules that govern everything at the scale of atoms.
In any given materialsay, the metal in your smartphoneelectrons contained within just the space of a fingertip could amount to the number one followed by 22 zeros, Bansil says. Modeling the physics of such a massive number of electrons has been extremely challenging ever since the field of quantum mechanics was born.
Bansil likes to think of this complexity as butterflies inside a jar flying fast and cleverly to avoid colliding with each other. In a conducting material, electrons also move around. And because of a combination of physical forces, they also avoid each other. Those characteristics are at the core of what makes it hard to model cuprate materials.
The problem with the cuprates is that they are at the border between being a metal and an insulator, and you need a calculation that is so good that it can systematically capture that crossover, Markiewicz says. Our new modeling can capture this behavior.
The team includes researchers from Tulane University, Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland, and Temple University. The researchers are the first to model the electronic states in the cuprates without adding parameters by hand to their computations, which physicists have had to do in the past.
To do that, the researchers modeled the energy of atoms of yttrium barium copper oxides at their lowest levels. Doing that allows researchers to trace electrons as they excite and move around, which in turn helps describe the mechanisms supporting the critical transition into superconductivity.
That transition, known as the pseudogap phase in the material, could be described simply as a door, Bansil says. In an insulator, the structure of the material is like a closed door that lets no one through. If the door is wide openas it would be for a conductorelectrons pass through easily.
But in materials that experience this pseudogap phase, that door would be slightly open. The dynamics of what transforms that door into a really wide open door (or, superconductor) remains a mystery, but the new model captures 26 electron configurations that could do it.
With our ability to now do this first-principles-parameter-free-type of modeling, we are in a position to actually go further, and hopefully begin to understand this pseudogap phase a bit better, Bansil says.
For media inquiries, please contact Mike Woeste at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-373-5718.
Read more from the original source:
Superconductor or not? They're exploring the identity crisis of this weird quantum material. - News@Northeastern
- D-Wave makes its quantum computers free to anyone working on the coronavirus crisis - VentureBeat - April 1st, 2020
- Can Quantum Computing Be the New Buzzword - Analytics Insight - April 1st, 2020
- Q-CTRL to Host Live Demos of 'Quantum Control' Tools - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - April 1st, 2020
- We're Getting Closer to the Quantum Internet, But What Is It? - HowStuffWorks - April 1st, 2020
- Who Will Mine Cryptocurrency in the Future - Quantum Computers or the Human Body? - Coin Idol - April 1st, 2020
- Universities Space Research Association to Lead a DARPA Project on Quantum Computing - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - April 1st, 2020
- The Schizophrenic World Of Quantum Interpretations - Forbes - April 1st, 2020
- Disrupt The Datacenter With Orchestration - The Next Platform - April 1st, 2020
- Quantum Computing strikes technology partnership with Splunk - Proactive Investors USA & Canada - March 26th, 2020
- Devs: Alex Garland on Tech Company Cults, Quantum Computing, and Determinism - Den of Geek UK - March 26th, 2020
- Is Machine Learning The Quantum Physics Of Computer Science ? - Forbes - March 26th, 2020
- Recent PDF Report : Quantum Computing Market 2020: In-depth Industry Analysis By Size, Share, Competition, Opportunities And Growth By 2029 - Sound On... - March 26th, 2020
- Organisms grow in wave pattern, similar to ocean circulation - Big Think - March 26th, 2020
- Tech incubator Fountech.Ventures launches in US and UK - UKTN - March 26th, 2020
- Why resilience is the key to future security - Raconteur - March 22nd, 2020
- Quantum computing is right around the corner, but cooling is a problem. What are the options? - Diginomica - March 21st, 2020
- Quantum Computing: Will It Actually Produce Jobs? - Dice Insights - March 21st, 2020
- Quantum computing, AI, China, and synthetics highlighted in 2020 Tech Trends report - VentureBeat - March 16th, 2020
- Early investment in quantum computing could result in a competitive advantage - Help Net Security - March 16th, 2020
- Quantum Computing for Everyone - The Startup - Medium - March 16th, 2020
- UC Riverside to lead scalable quantum computing project using 3D printed ion traps - 3D Printing Industry - March 16th, 2020
- Deltec Bank, Bahamas - Quantum Computing Will have Positive Impacts on Portfolio Optimization, Risk Analysis, Asset Pricing, and Trading Strategies -... - March 16th, 2020
- NIST Works on the Industries of the Future in Buildings from the Past - Nextgov - March 16th, 2020
- Archer Materials" patent application received by World Intellectual Property Organisation - Proactive Investors Australia - March 16th, 2020
- Why the Journey to Cloud Must Start With the Workforce - AiThority - March 9th, 2020
- 'Devs': How the FX on Hulu show's tech compares with reality - Los Angeles Times - March 5th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market: Qualitative Analysis of the Leading Players and Competitive Industry Scenario, 2025 - Express Journal - March 5th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market 2019 Analysis by Key Players, Share, Trend, Segmentation and Forecast to 2029 - News Times - March 5th, 2020
- Cracking the uncertainty around quantum computing - Information Age - March 4th, 2020
- Surprise contender Honeywell enters the quantum computing race - New Scientist News - March 4th, 2020
- Cambridge Quantum Computing teams up with CERN to advance quantum technologies - IT Brief Australia - March 4th, 2020
- Gilles Brassard honoured by the BBVA Foundation for his work in quantum computing - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - March 4th, 2020
- The view of quantum threats from the front lines - JAXenter - February 24th, 2020
- U.S. Progress on AI and Quantum Computing Will Best China, Says CTO Michael Kratsios - BroadbandBreakfast.com - February 24th, 2020
- Scientists Have Discovered a Brand New Electronic State of Matter - ScienceAlert - February 24th, 2020
- Where the Buzz About Quantum Computing Is Wrong - Toolbox - February 21st, 2020
- New report: Quantum Computing Market Size position and size report for 2019 to 2023 recently published - Instant Tech News - February 21st, 2020
- Global Deep Learning Chip Market (2019 to 2027) - Drivers, Restraints, Opportunities and Trends - ResearchAndMarkets.com - Business Wire - February 21st, 2020
- Quantum Computing Technologies Market: Industry Players Analysis, New Innovation, Growth Prospects, Size, Growth, Revenue, Development Policy,... - February 21st, 2020
- Why Quantum Computing Gets Special Attention In The Trump Administration's Budget Proposal - Texas Standard - February 20th, 2020
- Quantum Internet: The Technology That Could Change Everything? - The National Interest Online - February 20th, 2020
- HPC User Forum to Explore AI-HPDA Use In Banking and Investment Firms - insideHPC - February 20th, 2020
- 29 deeptech VCs in Europe you need to know - Sifted - February 20th, 2020
- Why Quantum Computing Gets Special Attention In The Trump Administration's Budget Proposal - KUT - February 19th, 2020
- The $600 quantum computer that could spell the end for conventional encryption - BetaNews - February 19th, 2020
- Quantum Internet Workshop Begins Mapping the Future of Quantum Communications - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - February 19th, 2020
- Correcting the jitters in quantum devices - MIT News - February 19th, 2020
- Govt creates tech group to chart the tech landscape for India - Economic Times - February 19th, 2020
- The EU is preparing to invest 2bn in a cloud computing alliance - NS Tech - February 19th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market Analysis With Key Players, Applications, Trends and Forecast To 2026 - Instant Tech News - February 19th, 2020
- Russian Quantum Center and Nissan have launched a project in the field of quantum chemistry - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - February 17th, 2020
- QUANTUM COMPUTING TECHNOLOGIES Market: Comprehensive study explores Huge Growth in Future | D-Wave Systems Inc., IBM Corporation, Lockheed Martin... - February 17th, 2020
- Quantum Internet Workshop Begins Mapping the Future of Quantum Communications - HPCwire - February 17th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market 2020 Trends, Market Share, Industry Size, Opportunities, Analysis and Forecast by 2026 - Instant Tech News - February 17th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market Size Outlook 2026: Prime Firms, Trends, Growth Factors Details by Regions, Sorts and Applications - Instant Tech News - February 17th, 2020
- Nobody is behind in science and technology: Serguie Beloussov - Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper - February 17th, 2020
- China beats US in key patents to secure technological dominance - The News International - February 17th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market 2019 Analysis by Key Players, Share, Trend, Segmentation and Forecast to 2026 - Instant Tech News - February 15th, 2020
- Chinese researchers smash the record for realising two entangled quantum memories at maximum distance - www.computing.co.uk - February 15th, 2020
- Quantum Computing: How To Invest In It, And Which Companies Are Leading the Way? - Nasdaq - February 14th, 2020
- DOE Workshop Begins Mapping the Future of Quantum Communications - insideHPC - February 14th, 2020
- Scientists discover how to use time crystals to power superconductors - Big Think - February 14th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market With Four Main Geographies And Their Countries - Instant Tech News - February 14th, 2020
- Russian Quantum Center and Nissan have launched a project in the field of quantum chemistry - Research Snipers - February 14th, 2020
- Global Quantum Computing Market Newest Research Report In PDF With Forecast [2020-2029] : International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation, Google... - February 14th, 2020
- Budget 2020: Govt bets on AI, data analytics and quantum computing - Livemint - February 2nd, 2020
- This Week's Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through February 1) - Singularity Hub - February 2nd, 2020
- AI has great potential in transforming the world: Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai - YourStory - February 2nd, 2020
- Budget 2020: New scheme to boost local manufacturing of mobiles, will iPhone get cheaper now? - India Today - February 2nd, 2020
- What Is Quantum Computing and How Does it Work? - Built In - January 30th, 2020
- IBM Just Called Out Google Over Their "Quantum Computer" - The National Interest Online - January 30th, 2020
- Quantum Computing releases its new software application called Mukai - Proactive Investors USA & Canada - January 30th, 2020
- Burning Things With Big Lasers In The Name Of Security - Hackaday - January 30th, 2020
- What Is Quantum Computing, And How Can It Unlock Value For Businesses? - Computer Business Review - January 27th, 2020
- The End Of The Digital Revolution Is Coming: Here's What's Next - Innovation Excellence - January 27th, 2020
- Healthcare venture investment in 2020: Quantum computing gets a closer look - Healthcare IT News - January 27th, 2020
- Delta Partners with IBM to Explore Quantum Computing - Database Trends and Applications - January 27th, 2020
- New Centers Lead the Way towards a Quantum Future - Energy.gov - January 27th, 2020
- ASC20 Finals to be Held in Shenzhen, Tasks Include Quantum Computing Simulation and AI Language Exam - HPCwire - January 27th, 2020
- Toshiba says it created an algorithm that beats quantum computers using standard hardware - TechSpot - January 27th, 2020