Better than Diamonds
Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney Science have overcome an obstacle to fast and secure information processing by discovering a material that can emit a single pulse of quantum light at room temperature. Prior to the discovery this was only observed in materials such as diamonds, which are impractical to integrate into commercial devices. The newly discovered material, layered hexagonal boron nitride, is a single layer of boron and nitrogen atoms that are arranged in a honeycomb structure. "It is atomically thin and is traditionally used as a lubricant; however upon careful processing it can emit quantised pulses of light – single photons that can carry information,” says Associate Professor Mike Ford.
Explaining the discovery’s importance, Ford says, “...one of the big goals is to make optical computer chips that can operate based on light rather than electrons, therefore operating much faster with less heat generation." The team says that the material is easy to fabricate, cheap, sustainable and available in large quantities, signifying a potentially enormous breakthrough in quantum computing.