July 19, 2024
The innovative device combines the excellent electrical conductivity of graphene with the semiconductor properties of indium selenide. Only a few atoms thick, it behaves as a two-dimensional object, and this novel combination of materials and structure yields its unprecedented performance.

Novel 2D device for quantum cooling converts heat to voltage at ultra-low temperatures

EPFL engineers have created a device that can efficiently convert heat into electrical voltage at temperatures lower than that of outer space. The innovation could help overcome a significant obstacle to the advancement of quantum computing technologies, which require extremely low temperatures to function optimally.

To perform quantum computations, quantum bits (qubits) must be cooled down to temperatures in the millikelvin range (close to -273 Celsius), to slow down atomic motion and minimize noise. However, the electronics used to manage these quantum circuits generate heat, which is difficult to remove at such .

Most current technologies must therefore separate quantum circuits from their electronic components, causing noise and inefficiencies that hinder the realization of larger quantum systems beyond the lab.

Researchers in EPFL’s Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures (LANES), led by Andras Kis, in the School of Engineering have now fabricated a device that not only operates at extremely low temperatures, but does so with efficiency comparable to current technologies at room temperature. The achievement has been published in Nature Nanotechnology.

“We are the first to create a device that matches the conversion efficiency of current technologies, but that operates at the low magnetic fields and ultra-low temperatures required for . This work is truly a step ahead,” says LANES Ph.D. student Gabriele Pasquale.

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