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Scientists at Ames Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the University of Alabama Birmingham have discovered a light-induced switching mechanism in a Dirac semimetal. The mechanism establishes a new way to control the topological material, driven by back-and-forth motion of atoms and electrons, which will enable topological transistor and quantum computation using light waves.

Just like today's transistors and photodiodes replaced vacuum tubes over half a century ago, scientists are searching for a similar leap forward in and novel materials in order to achieve quantum computing capabilities. Current computation capacity faces tremendous challenges in terms of complexity, power consumption, and speed; to exceed the physical limits reached as electronics and chips become hotter and faster, bigger advances are needed. Particularly at small scales, such issues have become major obstacles to improving performance.

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Category: Science