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University of Utah engineers discovered a way to create a special material – a metal layer on top of a silicon semiconductor – that could lead to cost-effective, superfast computers that perform lightning-fast calculations but don't overheat.

This new "topological insulator" behaves like an insulator on the inside but conducts electricity on the outside and may pave the way for quantum computers and fast spintronic devices.

The research, led by University of Utah materials science and engineering professor Feng Liu, was published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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