Building Superconducting Circuits Within Silicon
Silicon is the material for many modern technologies and has a large industry around it, which is why many are trying to develop future technologies that utilize silicon. Many would like to see silicon used to create quantum systems, but this is not easy to achieve in part because quantum systems are very susceptible to environmental noise. Researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute though, have developed a theoretical way to build superconducting wires and quantum circuits within silicon crystals, with the ability to carry qubits.
About a decade ago, it was discovered that by doping silicon correctly, it could be made to superconductor at temperatures just above absolute zero. Since then the ability to dope silicon has improved to the point that we could potentially build superconducting 'wires' on silicon with atomic precision. The researchers propose using the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope to remove hydrogen atoms from the surface of silicon, allowing the doping gas phosphine to be added. Once the silicon has been successfully doped to form wires, Josephson tunnel junctions, and weak links, which are the building blocks of superconducting circuits, crystalline silicon can be used to cover it all, protecting it from the environment. The result is superconducting circuitry, guarded from environmental noise, capable of carrying spin-based quantum bits.
While the possible applications of superconducting circuitry are decidedly interesting on their own, this research could also be used to create other superconducting-semiconductor devices with exotic properties. It could even be used learn more about superconductivity itself.
Source: Joint Quantum Institute