Physics of MIPT close to creating a «flat» quantum computers

© Fotolia / AbstractUniverseТак the artist imagined stolknovenie ultra-small particlesPhysics of MIPT close to creating a «flat» quantum computers© Fotolia / AbstractUniverse

. Scientists from the Moscow physical-technical Institute and Institute for theoretical physics RAS figured out how to behave impurities within the so-called topological insulators – flat current conductors, which can be a basis for super-stable engineering of quantum computers of the future, and published their findings in the journal Physical Review B.

«Despite the fact that the direct practical application of the obtained theoretical results have not, they are important for further studies of the effect of magnetic atoms on the propagation of electric current along the boundary of two-dimensional topological insulator», — said Igor Burmistrov, a physicist from MIPT, whose words the press service of the Institute.

In recent years, physicists from Russia and foreign countries are actively studying the properties of the so-called topological insulators is a relatively new class of materials that conduct electricity only on the surface and remain inside dielectrics-insulators or semiconductors.

Such substances attract physicists that electrons in this surface layer are extremely stable, which allows their use as a highly reliable «storage» of information in quantum computers.

The problem is, how to tell the scientists from MIPT and the RAS ETF, is that the ideal of topological insulators does not exist inside them, there are always various impurities and imperfections in the structure, influencing the motion of electrons inside them. For example, within them there can be inclusions of atoms with non-zero magnetic moment that can create magnetic fields to redirect electrons.

The behavior of such atoms in «ordinary» materials – metals, semiconductors and insulators – was well understood even in the 20th century, but how they affect the behavior of topological insulators, while no one has studied. Burmistrov and his colleagues decided to fill this gap, having considered the effects that arise in topological insulator in contact with the atom or manganese.

These calculations have helped scientists to understand how the behavior of electrons when atoms of manganese at the border between the conductive and non-conductive layers of this material or at a great distance from it, and calculate how «far» effected by the magnetic field of one atom, and how they interact with each other. In particular, they managed to open an unusual form of interaction between the atoms, which had not predicted and not in the «normal» conductors and semiconductors.

While these results of the theoretical calculations have no practical use, but in the future they may become critically important in the development of the first serious quantum computers, ultra-low-cost «regular» chips and other electronic devices.