Monday, August 28, 2017
A material that could store data for an exceptionally longer time than current devices has been conceptualised by researchers at the Korean Institute for Basic Science (IBS), paving the way for future quantum memory technologies.
To keep a memory device working for longer, researchers claim electrons or atoms bearing energy or information of quantum units should not interact with other electrons and atoms and need to be isolated as much as possible.
The confinement is created by other atoms that form a barrier. However, if they move in a 2D or 3D material, this issue is said to be complicated as atoms can always find paths to move around.
To futher complicate the issue, it was discovered that electrons move together as clusters, called strongly correlated systems or many-body systems, which makes it harder to isolate atoms and electrons.
In order to find an idealised system that is localised and correlated at the same time, the IBS research team relied on supersymmetry.
“In supersymmetry, each particle has a partner. For example, each electron pairs with a selectron of the same energy and mass,” describes Soo-Jong Rey, director of the Field, Gravity, and Strings Group at the Center for the Theoretical Physics of the Universe at IBS.
Using this principle, the scientists conceptualised an ideal material with a special architecture of energy levels or 'floors' for its electrons. The more energy the electron has, the higher floor it occupies.
According to the researchers, the structure for silicon has a shape similar to an upside-down pyramid with rooms available in each floor. Most of the electrons are on the first floor because very few rooms are available in the higher floors. Since there are not any rooms available above, electrons cannot interact with each other, and they cannot swap rooms.
In this way, data from the electrons in the top floors are not lost as time passes. Eventually, the scientists believe the scrambling process would happen, but that it would take an exponential time.
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