(Phys.org) Physicists have theorized that a new type of material, called a three-dimensional (3-D) topological insulator (TI), could be a good candidate from which to create qubits that will be resilient from these errors and protected from losing their quantum information.
A new study from the University of Utah found that when insulating layers are as thin as 16 quintuple atomic layers across, the top and bottom metallic surfaces begin to influence each other and destroy their metallic properties. The experiment demonstrates that the opposite surfaces begin influencing each other at a much thicker insulating interior than previous studies had shown, possibly approaching a rare theoretical phenomenon in which the metallic surfaces also become insulating as the interior thins out.
“Topological insulators could be an important material in future quantum computing. Our findings have uncovered a new limitation in this system,” said Vikram Deshpande, assistant professor of physics at the University of Utah and corresponding author of the study. “People working with topological insulators need to know what their limits are.”

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