October 22, 2020

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SUTD researchers are part of a global discovery in quantum mechanics

Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and scientists from across the world have made a discovery on the “Quantum Hall Effect” (QHE).

Electricity found in a quantum Hall system can be conducted without energy being lost. This means that electronics and technology using quantum mechanics in the future will be more energy-efficient and powerful.

This has only been possible with 2D systems now. SUTD’s researchers and scientists from around the world have pushed the limit and found a method for applying QHE to 3D systems. This is a big step forward as most materials are 3D.

The research team was led by Assistant Professor Yang Shengyuan of SUTD. A first experimental demonstration of the use of QHE 3D systems.

An interesting fact about this is that it was predicted by physicist Bertrand Halperin in 1987 that such a discovery would be possible, as reported in the journal Nature.

This prediction took almost 30 years to become a reality. QHE’s conditions have made it highly restrictive to be applied on 3D systems.

Highly pure and cold materials are needed to allow the electrons to move seamlessly.

Such a material has been created by SUTD’s collaborator, the Southern University of Science and Technology in China. Called ZrTe5, the material possesses those features.

Quantum technology is based on the laws of quantum mechanics, quantum physics and atomic physics.

Quantum technology research work is not new to Singapore. OpenGov has previously reported on some of these efforts.

Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) 

The Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore is changing how quantum technology is used by developing new solutions and innovations in this tech area.

The team under Associate Professor Alexander Ling is working on advancing research and innovation on quantum satellites through their collaboration with Singtel. They are looking at “bringing optical quantum technology out of the lab and into the field”.

Research is also being done for assembling ultracold atoms and molecules as quantum building blocks which will imitate the dynamics of the superconductors.

Superconductors are a form of advanced materials that can change the ways of energy transportation.

CQT is also looking into designing new algorithms and software for quantum devices which could be potentially used in areas such as quantum chemistry, material science, machine learning and AI, and data science.

OneConnect-SMU MOU

OneConnect Financial Technology (OneConnect) and Singapore Management University (SMU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to partner in the research work for developing a Proof of Concept (POC) on the possibilities of quantum computing boosting the capabilities of blockchain technology.

The role of quantum technology in this research effort is to find ways of improving blockchain technology in areas such as tough wide-scale consensus, efficiency for on-chain data searching, private record validation, high-speed smart contract processing and interoperability between blockchain networks.

The research team will be looking into quantum algorithms that could boost blockchain technology. The developed POC will be used to show how these algorithms can be used in blockchain networks.

This can then be engineered into a production-ready system for wider use as quantum computing grows with time.