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A group of physicists in Utrecht, San Sebastián and Pennsylvania have created a new artificial molecule that is insulating inside but has electronic states localized in its corners. These states have zero energy, and for this reason, are resilient to defects in the molecule and might be used as qubits in quantum computers. The results are published in Nature Materials on 23 September.
Prof. Cristiane Morais Smith from Utrecht University explains: "There are some big challenges in the development of quantum computers. One of the main problems is quantum decoherence: Information is lost into the environment. This makes it more difficult to design electronics on the quantum level than on the classical level. That is why we created electrons that are resilient to quantum decoherence."
Physicist - Sander - Kempkes - Molecules - Nature
Theoretical physicist Sander Kempkes says, "Normal molecules that can be found in nature often have interesting properties, but it takes a long time to find one that has exactly the properties you would like. That is why we took matter into our own hands." The researchers created artificial molecules from the bottom up using only a scanning tunneling microscope, a copper sample and a bunch of carbon-monoxide molecules, which are placed one nanometer apart from each other.
The researchers were able to create very robust corner modes that are protected by symmetries of the molecule. Just as you cannot get rid of a hole in a donut unless you cut it, these corner modes cannot be altered...
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