Exploiting the Benefits of Electronics and Photonics With Perovskite-Based Device

Category Engineering

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MIT researchers have discovered a new material that combines aspects of electronics and photonics, which could lead to more efficient computer chips and room-temperature quantum computing. The findings, based on perovskite materials, offer the benefits of electronics and photonics systems and could open doors to new kinds of devices.

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A perovskite-based device that combines aspects of electronics and photonics may open doors to new kinds of computer chips or quantum qubits.

MIT researchers have discovered a way to control quasiparticles called exciton-polariton pairs, which could lead to more efficient computer chips and room-temperature quantum computing .

. The findings, based on perovskite materials, combine the benefits of electronic and photonic systems, offering easier control and energy efficiency. Practical applications may be possible in 5-10 years.

The perovskite used in the experiment is called methyammonium lead iodide (MAPI)

New findings from a team of researchers at MIT and elsewhere could help pave the way for new kinds of devices that efficiently bridge the gap between matter and light. These might include computer chips that eliminate inefficiencies inherent in today’s versions, and qubits, the basic building blocks for quantum computers, that could operate at room temperature instead of the ultracold conditions needed by most such devices.

Today's transistors have inherent losses to capacitance effects at each interface between devices

The new work, based on sandwiching tiny flakes of a material called perovskite in between two precisely spaced reflective surfaces, is detailed in the journal Nature Communications, in a paper by MIT recent graduate Madeleine Laitz PhD ’22, postdoc Dane deQuilettes, MIT professors Vladimir Bulovic, Moungi Bawendi and Keith Nelson, and seven others. By creating these perovskite sandwiches and stimulating them with laser beams, the researchers were able to directly control the momentum of certain "quasiparticles" within the system. Known as exciton-polariton pairs, these quasiparticles are hybrids of light and matter. Being able to control this property could ultimately make it possible to read and write data to devices based on this phenomenon.

The quasiparticles created from this experiment have combined properties of light and matter

"What’s particularly fascinating about exciton-polaritons," Laitz says, is that they lie "on a spectrum between purely electronic and photonic systems." These quasiparticles "have the characteristics of both, and thus you can leverage exciton-polaritons to utilize the best properties of each." .

For example, purely electronic transistors, she explains, have inherent losses to capacitance effects at each interface between devices, whereas "purely photonic systems have challenges in engineering, in that it’s very hard to get photons to interact, and you have to rely on complex interferometric schemes." By contrast, the quasiparticles used by this team can be easily controlled through multiple variables.

The quasiparticles used in this experiment can be controlled through multiple variables

The quasiparticle is "a combined state of light and neutral charge," Bulovic says. "As a result, you can perturb that combined state either with light or charge, and hence, if you need to modulate that state, you have extra levers you can utilize. These extra levers can now allow one to manipulate this combined state of matter in a more energy-efficient manner." .

What’s more, the materials involved are easily manufactured using room-temperature, solution-based processing methods, and thus could be relatively easy to produce at scale once practical systems are designed. So far, the work is at a very early stage, as researchers are still studying newly discovered effects; practical applications could be five to 10 years away, Laitz says.

The extracted results from this experiment can store and read data more efficiently than before

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