Representatives of many different research institutions are behind recent progress in this field, and write about the details of their experiences with it Nature Communications. A key aspect of this research was the use of strain engineering to convert a material called hafnium pentane into a strong topological insulating phase.
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As a result, its collective electrical resistance increased (although on the surface it decreased), which made it possible to talk about the progress necessary to unleash the quantum potential of this material. According to the authors, the achievements achieved so far will be very important in the context of the development of quantum optoelectronic devices, dark matter detectors and tools such as quantum computers. They add that the methodology they used is compatible with experiments conducted on other quantum materials.
These potentially revolutionary experiments were presented by engineers from the University of California, Irvine. They grew hafnium pentahydrate crystals and then applied mechanical force to the material. And all this at very low temperatures, close to absolute zero, which is the lowest temperature in the entire universe.
The topological quantum potential of the material tested means that it can be used in many different ways, both in theoretical research and in device design.
Later, the research was transferred to Los Alamos National Laboratory, where the samples were subjected to optical spectroscopy. All this for imaging at the sub-micron level. The detailed analyzes did not end there, as it was time to conduct angular photoemission spectroscopy at the University of Tennessee. As it turned out, the activities carried out changed the tested material from a weak topological insulator to a strong insulator.
In practical terms, this meant that the electrical resistance of the hafnium pentagon increased by more than three orders of magnitude. This resistance indicates the resistance to the passage of electric current. Overall, the properties of experimental matter should make it well-suited to the design of quantum devices. In addition, the treatments applied should also lead to the results expected with respect to other materials, especially those characterized by strong in-plane bonding and weak out-of-plane bonding between atoms or molecules.
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The topological property identified in recent research should also provide a number of other benefits. There is talk of using it to identify phenomena related to quantum anomalies, which manifest themselves as mysterious symmetry breaking in physics. There must be at least some practical application.
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