Engineering materials with unique quantum properties
Many technologies that we interact with today, including lasers and transistors, don’t look terribly quantum from the outside. Quantum effects are essential to building and understanding these tools, but when we actually use them, the effects are visible to the naked eye. This is similar to how many scientists and engineers imagine quantum materials, where small-scale quantum effects lead to large-scale changes in material properties.
Superconductors are one example of a quantum material. After cooling down some materials below a specific temperature, current flows through them with zero resistance, allowing for lossless power transmission and the expelling of magnetic field. The reason this happens, though, is a quantum mechanical oddity: electrons pair together and start exhibiting wave-like properties. We don’t see the electrons directly, but from this microscopic effect, the material drastically changes its behaviour.
The impact of quantum materials
Engineering materials with unique quantum properties for the development of advanced quantum processors and devices is promising for:
- building the foundation of practical quantum devices
- high-capacity energy storage
- zero-loss electricity transportation.