(UniteAI) Scientists at the DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory had an unexpected finding that could help advance the field of quantum computers and high-temperature superconductors. The team took the clearest picture yet of electronic particles that make up quantum spin liquid (QSL), which is a magnetic state that scientists still don’t know too much about.
The team was the first to capture such an image of how electrons in a QSL decompose in spinons, or spin-like particles, and chargons, charge-like particles.
Mike Crommie is study leader and senior faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and physics professor at UC.
Sung-Kwan Mo is co-author and a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source.
“Spinons are like ghost particles. They are like the Big Foot of quantum physics — people say that they’ve seen them, but it’s hard to prove.
Crommie also says that QSLs could form the basis of robust quantum bits, or qubits, which are the fundamental building blocks of quantum computing. Conventional computing relies on a bit encoding information as zero or one, but qubits can hold both of those values simultaneously. This results in far faster calculations, and by understanding the behavior of spinons and chargons in QSLs, scientists could use this to advance next-gen computing.
The scientists also say that by gaining deeper insight into QSLs, they could act as a precursor to exotic superconductivity, so Crommie will test the prediction at the ALS.
“Part of the beauty of this topic is that all the complex interactions within a QSL somehow combine to form a simple ghost particle that just bounces around inside the crystal,” he said. “Seeing this behavior was pretty surprising, especially since we weren’t even looking for it.”