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Microsoft researchers want to find a mysterious quasiparticle

Microsoft researchers want to find a mysterious quasiparticle

Microsoft researchers say they have found evidence of an elusive particle that could solve big problems in quantum computing. However, independent physicists are skeptical — also because the team has been wrong before.

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Quantum computers process information using quantum bits (qubits), but current versions can be error-prone. “What the field needs is a new kind of qubit,” says Chetan Nayak of Microsoft Quantum, according to a report in the journal. new world. He and his colleagues now claim to have taken an important step toward building quasiparticle qubits.

Quasiparticles are not real particles, but rather collective vibrations that can arise when particles such as electrons interact. The quasiparticles involved are called Majorana empty modes. They act as their own antiparticles and have no charge and energy. This makes them immune to disturbances and they can form reliable qubits like never before. However, it is also difficult to detect.

Doubts remain

Microsoft researchers now claim that the systems they build display behavior compatible with Majorana null modes. The main components of each device were a very thin semiconductor wire and a piece of superconducting aluminum.

However, the same researchers reported a breakthrough in 2018. However, the paper they published in the popular journal Nature in 2021 was withdrawn because it did not stand up to independent testing. At the time, Sergei Frolovat of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and his colleagues found that defects in a semiconductor wire can create quantum effects that are easily confused with empty Majorana modes.

In the new experiment, the Microsoft team used a more sophisticated test called the Topological Gap Protocol. To pass the test, the device must simultaneously display zero-mode Majorana signatures at each end of the wire and also show that the electrons are in an energy range where a particular type of superconductivity occurs. “Instead of looking for a simple, specific signature of null Majorana patterns, we looked for a mosaic of signatures,” said Nayak. So it will be interesting to see if the work is flexible this time around or if you are a little convinced of your abilities.

summary

  • Microsoft researchers claim to have found particles for quantum computers.
  • The particle is called the Majorana empty mode and is a quasiparticle.
  • The topological gap protocol is used to pass the test.
  • A previously published paper had to be withdrawn in 2021.
  • Defects in a semiconductor wire can lead to quantum effects.
  • The Microsoft team is looking for a set of signatures.
  • The results have not been independently confirmed.

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