Mar 17, 2016

Rapid Superconducting Memory Cell Control System Developed

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, materials, quantum physics

“With the operational function that we have proposed in these memory cells, there will be no need for time-consuming magnetization and demagnetization processes. This means that read and write operations will take only a few hundred picoseconds, depending on the materials and the geometry of the particular system, while conventional methods take hundreds or thousands of times longer than this,” said the study author Alexander Golubov, the head of Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT)’s Laboratory of Quantum Topological Phenomena in Superconducting Systems.

Golubov and colleagues at Moscow State University have proposed creating basic memory cells based on quantum effects in superconductor “sandwiches.” Superconductors were predicted in the 1960s by the British physicist Brian Josephson. The electrons in these “sandwiches,” called “Josephson junctions,” are able to tunnel from one layer of a superconductor to another, passing through the dielectric like balls passing through a perforated wall.

Today, Josephson junctions are used both in quantum devices and conventional devices. For example, superconducting qubits are used to build the D-wave quantum system, which is capable of finding the minima of complex functions using the quantum annealing algorithm. There are also ultra-fast analogue-to-digital converters, devices to detect consecutive events, and other systems that do not require fast access to large amounts of memory. There have also been attempts to use the Josephson Effect to create ordinary processors. An experimental processor of this type was created in Japan in the late 1980s. In 2014, the research agency IAPRA resumed its attempts to create a prototype of a superconducting computer.

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