(UBuffalo.edu) New research on two-dimensional tungsten disulfide (WS2) could open the door to advances in quantum computing. Scientists reported that they can manipulate the electronic properties of this super-thin material in ways that could be useful for encoding quantum data.
The study deals with WS2’s energy valleys, which University at Buffalo physicist Hao Zeng, co-lead author of the paper, describes as “the local energy extrema of the electronic structure in a crystalline solid.” Valleys correspond with specific energies that electrons can have in a material, and the presence of an electron in one valley versus another can be used to encode information.
Like other forms of quantum computing, valley-based quantum computing would rely on the quirky qualities of subatomic particles — in this case electrons — to perform powerful calculations.
The ability to control where electrons might be found could yield advances in quantum computing, enabling the creation of qubits, the basic unit of quantum information. Qubits have the mysterious quality of being able to exist not just in a state of 1 or 0, but in a “superposition” related to both states.