Sunday, July 21, 2024

Innovative 2D quantum cooling system is colder than space

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Looking forward: A research team at EPFL University in Switzerland has created a 2D quantum computing system that can get colder than outer space. This is a major breakthrough for quantum computing, as conventional cooling methods have hampered progress. This new technology uses off-the-shelf parts and can be easily implemented on existing quantum computers.

“If you think of a laptop in a cold office, the laptop will continue to heat up while it is running, causing the temperature of the room to increase as well,” said Gabriele Pasquale, a PhD student at LANES (Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures at EPFL) who made this breakthrough possible. “In quantum computing systems, there is currently no mechanism that prevents this heat from disturbing the qubits. Our device could provide this necessary cooling.”

Qubits must be cooled to -273 degrees Celsius to slow atomic motion, but the problem has always been that the electronics used to manage quantum computing still generate heat, which is difficult to disperse at already low temperatures.

Most current technology separates quantum and electronic circuits; however, the EPFL device converts the heat generated into electricity. In tests, LANES’ 2D quantum cooling device managed to convert heat into voltage in a refrigerated environment of 100 mikelvin – a temperature even colder than outer space. Based at EPFL University in Switzerland, the research team published its findings in the latest issue of the scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The innovative device combines graphene, which has excellent electrical conductivity, with the semiconductor properties of indium selenide. are just a few atoms thick and behaves like a 2D object.

This unique structure gives EPFL’s new quantum cooling device unprecedented performance. To harness this power, the device takes advantage of the Nernst effect. The Nernst effect is a thermoelectric phenomenon that creates an electric voltage when a magnetic field is applied perpendicular to an object. Because the EPFL device is 2D, engineers can tune its efficiency electronically.

Low-temperature thermoenergy conversion is a topic that has been little researched in academia and science, which makes this new development so significant. The LANES team said their device could already be integrated into existing low-temperature quantum circuits. It also uses readily available electronics.

This means that the new 2D quantum cooling system could be mass-produced and implemented on existing hardware without costly upgrades or disrupting the quantum computing hardware paradigm. With this ease of access, we can expect more labs to soon add the system to their quantum computers for testing.

“These findings represent a major breakthrough in nanotechnology and hold promise for the development of advanced cooling technologies essential for quantum computing at mikelvin temperatures,” Pasquale said. “We believe this achievement could revolutionize cooling systems for future technologies.”


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