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Superconducting Device Could Dramatically Cut Energy Use in Computing, Other Applications


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diode of superconducting device, illustration

In one design of the superconducting device, the diode consists of a ferromagnetic strip (pink) atop a superconducting thin film (grey).

A simple superconducting device developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers could help achieve significant reductions in energy usage by high-power computing systems and potentially improve quantum computing technologies.

The nanoscopic rectangular diode is scalable, and millions could be produced on a single silicon wafer.

The new diode takes advantage of a phenomenon known as the Meissner screening effect, the researchers explain in their study. The tiny magnetic field they applied — either directly, or through the adjacent ferromagnetic layer — activates the material's screening current mechanism for expelling the external magnetic field and maintaining superconductivity.

The researchers also achieved an increase in efficiency from 20% to more than 50% by optimizing the differences in the edges of the devices, with one altered to have sawtooth features and the other left alone. This means it may be possible to develop devices with edges that could be "tuned" to further increase efficiency, says MIT senior research scientist Jagadeesh Moodera.

From MIT News
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