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University of Chicago shows qubit coherence on silicon carbide

By Dan O'Shea posted 03 Feb 2022

Silicon carbide, a material already used in high-voltage semiconductor devices for electronics and automotive applications, lately has been gaining ground as a potential foundational material for quantum devices, as well as quantum internet and networking applications. 

The most recent innovation in the silicon carbide (SiC) arena, announced this week and the subject of a Science Advances article, came from the University of Chicago. Researchers there were able to use SiC to create a qubit, read out the qubit on demand, and then keep the qubit’s quantum state intact for more than five seconds, which they said is a new coherence record for this class of devices.

“This essentially brings silicon carbide to the forefront as a quantum communication platform,” said graduate student Elena Glen, co-first author on the paper. “This is exciting because it’s easy to scale up, since we already know how to make useful devices with this material.”

This innovation follows the discovery by University of Chicago researchers back in 2020 that they could demonstrate control of atomic quantum memories in SiC, a discovery which they said at the time could lead to qubits built on SiC. 

This news also comes just a couple of weeks after U.S. Department of Energy researchers were able to make high-quality spin qubits from chromium defects in silicon carbide.

Many industries are increasingly turning to SiC because they see it as having better thermal properties than silicon, which translates to more energy-efficient devices and applications. The growing popularity of SiC (Some expect a market value of more than $4 billion by 2026) means that materials and manufacturing sources should be widely available in the coming years.

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