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Quantum Computer Scientist's Aim

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Jak Chakhalian

University of Arkansas professor Jak Chakhalian

University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas physicist Jak Chakhalian is seeking a new miniature building block for quantum computers. "It doesn't matter how good the supercomputer is today--it could be the biggest and best computer--but there are still some encryption algorithms where the supercomputer would take millions and billions of years to solve it," Chakhalian says.

His goal is to develop a new class of nanomaterials known as topological insulators, which would combine magnetic and superconductivity properties and conduct electricity on the surface, making computers faster and more efficient.

"We are working one atomic layer at a time--that's how thin we are," Chakhalian says. His research team previously found that electrons themselves have distinct shapes, called atomic orbitals, that could be observed and controlled so the nanomaterials' chemical and physical properties could be manipulated.

"The goal is rational engineering of materials," Chakhalian says. "We want to try something that we're going to predict is gong to give us the desired property."

From Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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