(Phys.org) Advanced, fault-tolerant quantum computers may be closer to reach than scientists have projected, according to recent advances reported by Johns Hopkins researchers who built on their previous study about the search for basic building blocks of materials called superconductors with spin-triplet pairing, which were considered to be very rare.
The new finding focuses on a particular type of crystal, a noncentrosymmetric superconductor. Unlike most common crystalline materials that demonstrate inversion symmetry, that is, a crystal structure that is indistinguishable with its inversion image, this special class of materials breaks inversion symmetry, exhibiting an inversion image distinctive from itself. This low symmetry is predicted to indicate the presence of the otherwise elusive spin-triplet pairing. These “lowly” materials comprise a potential rich mine of quantum-computer-building materials. However, decisive evidence of spin-triplet pairing in these crystals has been lacking.
Using a new experimental method, the Hopkins researchers examined a prototype of this superconductor, α-BiPd. Their experiment found the presence of the highly unusual half-integer quantization of magnetic flux in polycrystalline rings of α-BiPd, which comprises smoking-gun evidence for spin-triplet pairing.
This new finding paints a promising and encouraging future when more building-block materials emerge from materials with low symmetry.