Superfast and highly efficient computing could be closer after scientists designed a superconducting material that works in only one direction.
Scientists at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) said that the material, made from ultra-thin sheets of niobium compounds, allows electrons to pass in one way with no resistance but not in the other, without using a magnetic field. This means it is the superconducting equivalent of the silicon-based junctions that form the basis of much modern computing - something that was thought to be impossible ever since its discovery in 1911.
The findings make use of 2D quantum materials and pave the way towards superconducting computing, something that could make electronics hundreds of times faster, all with zero energy loss.
“If the 20th century was the century of semi-conductors, the 21st can become the century of the superconductor,” scientists said.
Technology that was previously only possible using semi-conductors can now potentially be made with superconductors using this building block. This includes faster computers with up to terahertz speed, which is 300 to 400 times faster than the computers we are currently using.
The scientists are now looking at raising the operational temperature and scaling of production in order to ensure commercial application of the diodes.
Image: TU Delft