The race is still on to build a practical quantum computer. Researchers are continuously exploring possible solutions, but the fundamental problem is manipulating atomic particles at room temperature.
Currently, particles used in quantum computing must be supercooled in order maintain their stability. At ambient temperatures, the particles begin to vibrate and rotate, which in turn inhibits their quantum mechanical properties.
Using topological insulators, researchers at Imperial College London may have discovered a freakish solution.
Like the lightning bolt that brought Frankenstein to life, the team of scientists found that a photon can bind with an electron and, more importantly, this bond creates a particle that combines the properties of both.
As a result, the team recently identified a new form of light (dubbed the ‘’Frankenstein particle”) that is visible even at room temperature.
“A mind of moderate capacity which closely pursues one study must infallibly arrive at great proficiency in that study.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
This new hybrid particle even has unique properties that allow it to behave in ways that neither photons nor electrons can on their own. For example, the Frankenstein particle is even able to move in a weak conductor, while an electron usually cannot.
One Step Closer to Viable Quantum Computing
The findings are significant not only because of the new approach the researchers used in recent experiments, but also because the Frankenstein particle has just about all of the ingredients required to create a viable quantum computer that functions at ambient temperatures: it’s measured on an atomic scale, can be manipulated to transmit data, and doesn’t required supercooled environments like current quantum computers do.
More research and experimentation must be conducted before quantum computers are available for everyday use in our homes and offices, but we’re certainly one Franken-step closer.