RALEGH – Researchers at North Carolina State College have found a brand new distinct type of silicon known as Q-silicon which, amongst different attention-grabbing properties, is ferromagnetic at room temperature. The findings may result in advances in quantum computing, together with the creation of a spin qubit quantum laptop that’s based mostly on controlling the spin of an electron.
“The invention of Q-silicon having sturdy room temperature ferromagnetism will open a brand new frontier in atomic-scale, spin-based gadgets and useful integration with nanoelectronics,” mentioned Jay Narayan, the John C. Fan Family Distinguished Chair in Materials Science and corresponding writer of a paper describing the work.
Ferromagnetism in supplies outdoors of transition metals and uncommon earths has excited scientists worldwide for a very long time. It is because spin-polarized electrons can be utilized to course of and retailer data with atomic decision. Nonetheless, supplies with even numbers of electrons, reminiscent of carbon and silicon, with out unpaired spins weren’t thought of critically by way of bulk ferromagnetism. The dangling bonds in bulk carbon and silicon supplies normally reconstruct and remove sources of unpaired electrons.
The NC State researchers confirmed that laser melting and quenching silicon can lead to the formation of Q-silicon. The whole course of is accomplished in lower than a fraction of a microsecond, or millionth of a second. Narayan pioneered the usage of lasers to create new supplies with novel properties in work spanning greater than 4 many years.
Apart from ferromagnetism, different Q-silicon properties of curiosity embody enhanced hardness and superconductivity, Narayan says.
“This discovery of Q-silicon stands to revolutionize fashionable microelectronics by including new functionalities, reminiscent of spintronics, or spin-based quantum computing,” Narayan mentioned. “Fashionable microelectronics is predicated upon the cost of an electron, making them comparatively gradual with restricted mobility. Through the use of Q-silicon, we make use of the spin of the electron, making computer systems a lot sooner with negligible energy consumption.
“In brief, Q-silicon offers a really perfect platform for integration of spintronics with microelectronics on a chip.”
The research seems in Supplies Analysis Letters. Roger Narayan, Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at NC State, co-authored the paper together with Siba Sahoo and Naveen Joshi, who’re graduate college students within the Division of Supplies Science and Engineering at NC State. Funding was supplied by the Nationwide Science Basis beneath grants 1836767, 2029974 and 2016256. NC State has filed for a U.S. patent on the Q-silicon discovery.