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Posted: Nov 19, 2013

Hybrid nanosystems with antagonistic properties

(Nanowerk News) Nanomaterials exhibit unique properties, and hybrid nanosystems of materials with antagonistic properties are truly intriguing. Scientists are developing theoretical descriptions to foster device development with an eye on quantum computing.
With the rapid development of nanomaterials and the increasing miniaturisation of electronics and components, the field of mesoscopic physics has taken off. This area describes the behaviour of materials varying in scale from groups of atoms (e.g. molecules) to micrometres, where quantum mechanical effects apply rather than classical mechanics.
Scientist sought to explore mesoscopic behaviours in hybrid systems by combining materials with different and even antagonistic properties. Superconductor–ferromagnet systems are an interesting example where different and opposing electron spin alignments lead to unique phenomena. EU funding of the project 'Correlations and proximity effect in low-dimensional and hybrid structures' (LODIHYBRIDS) is providing the opportunity to investigate.
During the current reporting period, researchers studied ferromagnetic responses and other effects in superconductor–ferromagnet hybrid structures. They also investigated a hot topic in experimental mesoscopic physics research: the search for Majorana bound states. Majorana bound states are a phenomenon with implications for use as building blocks for topological quantum computers.
Researchers focused on a hybrid system consisting of a Josephson junction, two superconducting metals separated by a thin layer of insulator, when constructed as a hybrid superconducting–topological insulator device. In particular, they investigated identifying characteristics of Majorana bound states in such a system with the goal of predicting novel ways to realise them experimentally.
LODIHYBRIDS expects to contribute significantly to the current understanding of behaviours in hybrid mesoscopic systems in which close contact between materials with antagonistic properties can cause the emergence of novel dynamics. Such effects are particularly important to understanding of quantum mechanical effects in miniaturised electronic components and have a role to play in future quantum computers.
Source: Cordis
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