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Atomic / molecular / quantum


Design in dark and light blue with a circular pattern surrounded by a square.
Credit: A. Ramanayaka

Silicon, found everywhere from the brick in your fireplace to the sand between your toes at the beach, also forms the basis of microchips in conventional computers. But the silicon found in nature won't work with some of the most promising designs for futuristic quantum-computing devices.

Why not? Quantum computing depends on the delicate properties of atoms and other things at tiny scales. Even the slightest factors can disturb these properties and affect how long a quantum computer can process information before crashing. The silicon we all know and love contains 92% of the isotope silicon-28, which would be fine for quantum computing, but also includes about 5% of the isotope silicon-29, whose properties can disrupt those of silicon-28.

Now, new research from scientists at NIST and the Joint Quantum Institute put highly refined samples of silicon (with 99.99% of silicon-28) to the test. The team developed a microscopic device (shown here) to compare the highly refined samples with commercial silicon and test their quantum performance. That way, industry leaders can better evaluate whether a specific composition of silicon qualifies as “quantum grade” and can support the devices they hope to build.

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2p x-ray absorption spectroscopy of 3d transition metal systems

Eric L. Shirley, John Vinson, Frank de Groot, Hebatalla Elnaggar, Federica Frati, Ru-pan Wang, Mario Delgado, Michel van Veenendaal, Maurits Haverkort, Robert Green, Yaroslav Kvashnin, Atsushi Hariki, Harry Ramanantoanina, Claude Daul, Bernard Delley, Michael Odelius, Marcus Lundberg, Oliver Kuhn, Sergey Bokarev, Keith Gilmore, Mauro Stener, Giovanni Fronzoni, Piero Decleva, Peter Kruger, Marius Retegan, Javier Fernandez-Rodriguez, Gerritt van der Laan, Yves Joly, Christian Vorwerk, Claudia Draxl, John Rehr, Arata Tanaka, Hidekazu Ikeno
A variety of methods are presented that are presently used to treat x-ray absorption spectra of transition-metal 2p edges in a wide range of compounds