No one has ever created such a large scale.  This crystal only exists in two dimensions

Over the years, when studying crystals, physicists have noticed the surprising behavior of some of them. Crystals can have excellent electrical conductivity or an unusual magnetic field. The problem, however, is that despite years of research, scientists still struggle to understand these features at the level of the individual atoms that make up these crystals.

At the end of the 20th century, scientists who wanted to explore crystals at the atomic level began to form their own from individual atoms cooled to temperatures so low that they could be placed and observed temperature-sensitively. In this way, the behavior of real crystals can be tested by observing the behavior of the models and by comparing the results of the experiment with the behavior of natural crystals.

Also read: Time crystals connected for the first time. But we are still waiting for practical applications

While arranging a few or more atoms into a crystal structure is a very good thing for scientists, forming a larger crystal is an achievement.

now Researchers at the University of Innsbruck led by Helen Heinzer have developed a new method for creating larger crystals, which in turn could allow the behavior of natural crystals to be tested in a completely new way. The results of the first trials are promising.

The largest two-dimensional crystal… very small

Using a laser, physicists managed to create an ultracold crystal of one hundred and five calcium ions arranged on a metal substrate in a special metal and glass container. It was the laser that made it possible to cool the ions to a temperature close to absolute zero. Prepared in this way, it is then arranged as a crystal on a metal chip, using the electromagnetic forces exerted on the ions by both the chip itself and all neighboring ions.

105 atoms is very little, but at the same time it is the largest two-dimensional crystal ever made by physicists. Previous standard size crystals of this type consisted of about 20-24 crystals. Arranging a larger structure was difficult because the ions usually start to move or migrate, leading to uncontrolled interactions or accidental heating of the experiment.

To prevent this, scientists in Austria decided to use a laser and a chip that keeps the vibrations in one plane, and then use an additional laser to reduce any vibrations in that plane. Due to the fact that the crystal is “very large” and at the same time two-dimensional, it can be a very useful model for simulating the behavior of very thin quantum materials.

Scientists are now working on ways to control the interactions that occur between individual atoms in such a crystal. If individual atoms/ions can be perfected, crystals can be used for quantum computing, where each ion in the crystal will be a qubit, which is called quantum computation. qubit. But for now, this is a song from the future.

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