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Stop! In the name of quantum science and engineering.
The familiar refrain relates to a new achievement in quantum technology, an emerging field of research that seeks to harness the unique properties of atoms and subatomic particles.
University - Buffalo-led - Research - Team - Traffic
A University at Buffalo-led research team has developed a "traffic light" that can bring quantum waves to a halt. The advancement could be key to harnessing the potential of the atomic world, eventually leading to breakthroughs in computing, medicine, cryptography, materials science and other applications.
"It's an area of research of immense importance," says UB electrical engineer Jon Bird, Ph.D., co-lead author of a study published recently in the journal Physical Review Letters that describes the aforementioned work.
Bird - Chair - Department - Electrical - Engineering
Bird is professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Jong Han, Ph.D., professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the paper's co-lead author.
Additional authors come from the laboratories of Bird and Han, as well as the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Laboratories, and the Korea Institute for Advanced Study.
Electrons - Researchers - Particles - Way - Ways
While electrons are well-known to schoolchildren, researchers are still trying to understand why these subatomic particles behave the way they do, as well as find new ways to manipulate them.
In the study, the team "used the very atoms that make up the crystal structure of the semiconductor materials that we study to either impede the passage of electrons, or to allow them to pass freely, essentially making a 'traffic light' for these quantum particles. We do this by 'shaking' these atoms controllably, through the application of small electrical signals to our devices," says Bird.
Researchers - Nanoconductor - Temperature—minus - Degrees - Celsius
The researchers isolated a specially built nanoconductor at an extremely cold temperature—minus 273 degrees Celsius. Under such conditions, in this ultrasmall device, electrons exhibit a wavelike nature.
In other words, they behave...
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