(ACTU) While working on the resistivity of a type of delafossite – PdCoO2 – researchers at EPFL’s Laboratory of Quantum Materials discovered that the electrons in their sample did not behave entirely as expected. When a magnetic field was applied, the electrons retained signatures of their wave-like nature, which could be observed even under relatively high temperature conditions and appeared in relatively large sizes. These surprising results, obtained in collaboration with several research institutions*, could prove useful, for example in the quest for quantum computing.
Philip Moll, who heads EPFL’s Laboratory of Quantum Materials. “It’s the very first time this quantum effect has been observed in such a large piece of metal. 12 micrometers may seem small, but for the dimensions of an atom, it is gigantic. This is the length scale of biological life, such as algae and bacteria.”
The next step will be to try and better understand how this phenomenon is possible at this scale. But researchers are already imagining a wealth of possibilities, particularly in the field of quantum computing.