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A major quantum computing leap with a magnetic twist – “A New Paradigm”
A University of Washington-led team has made a key quantum computing breakthrough by detecting fractional quantum anomalous Hall states in semiconductor material flakes, which could be instrumental in creating stable, fault-tolerant qubits.
Yet the qubit platforms unveiled to date have a common problem: They tend to be delicate and vulnerable to outside disturbances. A photon is a particle of light. It is the basic unit of light and other electromagnetic radiation, and is responsible for the electromagnetic force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature.
A team led by scientists and engineers at the University of Washington has announced a significant advancement in this quest. In a pair of papers published on June 14 in Nature and June 22 in Science, they report that, in experiments with flakes of semiconductor materials — each only a single layer of atoms thick — they detected signatures of “fractional quantum anomalous Hall” (FQAH) states. The team’s discoveries mark a first and promising step in constructing a type of fault-tolerant qubit because FQAH states can host anyons — strange “quasiparticles” that have only a fraction of an electron’s charge. Some types of anyons can be used to make what are called “topologically protected” qubits, which are stable against any small, local disturbances.
“This really establishes a new paradigm for studying quantum physics with fractional excitations in the future,” said Xiaodong Xu, the lead researcher behind these discoveries, who is also the Boeing Distinguished Professor of Physics and a professor of materials science and engineering at the UW