2D quantum cooling system: temps colder than outer space, converts heat into electrical voltage

A research team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EFPL) develops a 2D quantum cooling system, runs cooler than outer space.

1 minute & 38 seconds read time

A research team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EFPL) have developed a 2D quantum cooling system that's capable of reducing temperatures down to 100 millikelvins, all by converting heat into electrical voltage.

2D quantum cooling system: temps colder than outer space, converts heat into electrical voltage 82

Ultra-low operating temperatures are the cornerstone of quantum computing, as quantum bits (qubits) are sensitive to heat and must be cooled down to less than 1K. Even the thermal energy generated by the electronics needed to run the quantum computer itself have caused performance issues of qubits.

LANES PhD student Gabriele Pasquale explained: "If you think of a laptop in a cold office, the laptop will still heat up as it operates, causing the temperature of the room to increase as well. In quantum computing systems, there is currently no mechanism to prevent this heat from disturbing the qubits".

Pasquale added: "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 quantum systems. This work is truly a step ahead".

Regular cooling systems don't work at these temperatures, so heat-generating electronics must be physically separated from quantum circuits. This adds noise and inefficiencies to the quantum computer, making it near impossible to create larger systems that would run outside of strict lab conditions.

The 2D quantum cooling system developed by the researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EFPL) can cool down to 100mK, which is colder than outer space. It does this at the same efficiency as current cooling technologies running at room temperatures.

The LANES team has called their technological advance a 2D quantum cooling system because of the way it was built. Just a few atoms (yes, atoms) thick, the new material acts like a two-dimensional object, and the combination of graphene and the 2D-thin structure allows it to achieve massive efficiency performance.

The 2D quantum cooling system operates using the Nernsy effect, a thermomagnetic phenomenon where an electrical field is generated in a conductor with a magnetic field and two different temperatures on each side of the material.

Pasquale added: "These findings represent a major advancement in nanotechnology and hold promise for developing advanced cooling technologies essential for quantum computing at millikelvin temperatures. We believe this achievement could revolutionize cooling systems for future technologies".

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