Quantum physicists at Delft University of Technology have shown that it’s possible to control and manipulate spin waves on a chip using superconductors for the first time. These tiny waves in magnets may offer an alternative to electronics in the future, interesting for energy-efficient information technology or connecting pieces in a quantum computer, for example. The breakthrough, published in Science, primarily gives physicists new insight into the interaction between magnets and superconductors.

“Spin waves are waves in a magnetic material that we can use to transmit information,” explains Michael Borst, who led the experiment. “Because spin waves can be a promising building block for an energy-efficient replacement for electronics, scientists have been searching for an efficient way to control and manipulate spin waves for years.”

Theory predicts that metal electrodes give control over spin waves, but physicists have barely seen such effects in experiments until now. “The breakthrough of our research team is that we show that we can indeed control spin waves properly if we use a superconducting electrode,” says Toeno van der Sar, Associate Professor in the Department of Quantum Nanoscience.

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