Researchers from Empa and ETH Zurich, in collaboration with international partners, have achieved a significant breakthrough in carbon-based quantum technology by attaching electrodes to individual atomically precise graphene nanoribbons. These nanoribbons exhibit controllable quantum effects due to their unique properties, which could revolutionize quantum technology.
Quantum technology holds great promise for various technological advancements, including improved sensors, secure communication networks, and powerful computers for drug development and weather prediction. To harness these benefits, scientists require quantum materials, like graphene nanoribbons, known for their exceptional physical attributes and quantum effects when shaped into ribbons.
Led by Mickael Perrin’s team at Empa, researchers overcame challenges in working with these nanoribbons, which are just nine carbon atoms wide. They utilized carbon nanotubes as electrodes, ensuring precision in experiments. Through meticulous processes, they successfully contacted individual nanoribbons and confirmed their quantum behavior, even suggesting potential room-temperature quantum effects.
Collaboration played a pivotal role, involving experts from Empa, Peking University, University of Warwick, and Max Planck Institute. This breakthrough offers insights into fundamental quantum phenomena and opens doors for quantum applications in computing, sensing, and energy conversion.
While commercial applications are not immediate, ongoing research aims to manipulate quantum states and create devices like quantum switches and energy converters. This work exemplifies the potential of carbon-based quantum technology, bringing us closer to a new era of quantum-enabled devices and innovations.