Thursday, April 19, 2012

NEC Research Demonstrates Coherent Quantum Phase Slip

Researchers at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute (ASI) and NEC Smart Energy Research Laboratories have demonstrated coherent quantum phase slip (CQPS) in a narrow superconducting wire of indium-oxide (InOx). The wire is inserted into a larger superconducting loop to form a new device called a phase-slip qubit, with the superconducting layer (the thin wire) sandwiched between insulating layers of empty space.

Specifically, the researchers detected a band gap in the energy curves for the two flux states of the system. NEC said this gap is a result of quantum mechanics, which prevents the two states from occupying the same energy level, forcing them to tunnel across the superconducting layer-and through a quantum phase-slip in the narrow wire-to avoid it.

The breakthrough could lead to a new class of devices that exploit the unique functionality of quantum phase-slip to forge a new path in superconducting electronics.

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