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Cornell University
LASSP -  Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics

Cornell Laboratory for Atomic and Solid State Physics

Eun-Ah Kim's group works toward devising next-gen superconductor

The experimental realization of ultrathin graphene – which earned two scientists from Cambridge the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 – has ushered in a new age in materials research.

What started with graphene has evolved to include numerous related single-atom-thick materials, which have unusual properties due to their ultra-thinness. Among them are transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), materials that offer several key features not available in graphene and are emerging as next-generation semiconductors.

TMDs could realize topological superconductivity and thus provide a platform for quantum computing – the ultimate goal of a Cornell research group led by Eun-Ah Kim, associate professor of physics.

“Our proposal is very realistic – that’s why it’s exciting,” Kim said of her group’s research. “We have a theoretical strategy to materialize a topological superconductor … and that will be a step toward building a quantum computer. The history of superconductivity over the last 100 years has been led by accidental discoveries. We have a proposal that’s sitting on firm principles.

“Instead of hoping for a new material that has the properties you want,” she said, “let’s go after it with insight and design principle.”

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