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A-axis Superconductive Wafers for Enhanced Sensors and High-Performance Computing

Researchers achieved world-class interface smoothness with a-axis YBa2Cu3O7-x/PrBa2Cu3O7-x/YBa2Cu3O7-x trilayers grown on (100) LaAlO3 substrates.

In recent research sponsored by Ambature, Inc., a clean energy intellectual property licensing company, researchers from Cornell University, Peter Grünberg Institute, JARA-Fundamentals of Future Information Technology, Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science, and Leibniz-Institut für Kristallzüchtung achieved world-class interface smoothness with a-axis YBa2Cu3O7-x/PrBa2Cu3O7-x/YBa2Cu3O7-x trilayers grown on (100) LaAlO3 substrates.

This development work was commissioned to validate the a-axis growth of superconductive materials using a deposition method called Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE). Ambature has more than 3600 individual patent claims that have issued in the 10 largest economies in the world. Many of these claims are based on the a-axis (as opposed to the c-axis) growth of superconductive materials. This research has demonstrated how to use MBE to control the growth of high-quality a-axis crystal wafers. The a-axis architecture takes advantage of two properties in quantum mechanics: a longer coherence length and improved electrical current flow that moves in both the vertical and horizontal directions (in contrast to c-axis flow, which is only horizontal and problematic for fabrication processes).

Silicon wafers are commonly used as substrates for semiconductors. Ambature uses similar substrates to grow a-axis thin films, which are the base epitaxy for a-axis devices. This work describes the process for the commercialization of Ambature’s a-axis thin films and the superconductive electronic devices described in its patent portfolio. It proves that MBE, with its atomic-level accuracy, is a superior method of epitaxy deposition.

In addition to its importance to materials science, the proposed technology can also boost the development of artificial intelligence (AI). It can be used to fabricate superconductive devices called Josephson junctions (JJs). JJs are the workhorses of high-performance superconductive electronics that can function as detectors, sensors, switches, and processors. They are also the most common method used to generate Qubits for quantum computing (QC). These superconductive devices can gather the data inputs needed for AI algorithms and process the data extremely quickly for faster AI decision-making. For example, a signal detector/sensor can provide extremely fast reaction times for an autonomous vehicle or an edge sensor in smart city communications. Because JJs are the basis for QC, Ambature’s technology enables quantum AI sensing and communications with encryption of sensitive data (such as patient and military data) in AI applications.

According to Ambature, the proposed technology can be applied to many interesting fields of artificial intelligence as listed below: 

  • orders-of-magnitude better sensors and detectors to capture data for smart city AI and vehicle-to-vehicle communications
  • extremely high-performance computing (HPC) in the 700 plus GH frequency range to process AI data
  • more stable QC device architecture with enhanced two-state implementations
  • replacement of the Radio Frequency coils in existing MRI devices with JJ sensors, resulting in better signal-to-noise ratios for more accurate medical diagnostics 
  • higher-quality Magnetoencephalography (MEG) using JJ-based sensors called SQUIDs to better understand the inner workings of the brain
  • smaller-footprint, JJ-based diagnostic devices with low magnetic fields for pandemic surveillance and point-of-care clinical decision support systems 
  • more robust and secure communication loops, such as the one between the autonomous vehicle, cell phone base station, data center, and AI algorithm (these loops can be optimized with Ambature technology to minimize latency and operational risks by creating better and faster decision-making infrastructure)
  • JJ-based, quantum-assisted AI for image recognition and pattern inference

Many of today’s superconductive electronic applications are impractical to implement due to cooling requirements. Therefore, many new HPC and QC applications for AI will become feasible with higher-temperature superconductive electronics. Every incremental increase in temperature or drop in electrical resistance gives rise to new AI possibilities in sensing, detecting and computing, as superconductors are the best sensors/detectors in the entire electromagnetic spectrum. The proposed a-axis technology will play an important role in enhancing automotive sensors, data centers, networking and telecommunications that are crucial to IoT networks.

The paper a-axis YBa2Cu3O7-x/PrBa2Cu3O7-x/YBa2Cu3O7-x trilayers with subnanometer rms roughness is on arXiv.


About Ambature

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Ambature, Inc. is a clean energy intellectual property (IP) licensing company with over 200 patents with more than 3600 unique claims in the area of a-axis superconducting technology. This company has developed a synthetic material that reduces electrical resistance in products like integrated circuits, sensors, cell phone base stations, and quantum computers. The NASA Jet Propulsion Lab independently tested Ambature’s materials and stated in their Annual Report that Ambature  has “fabricated and tested a material that arguably holds promises for room temperature superconductivity.” Ambature’s patents have already been cited as prior art in 190 third-party patent applications filed by companies such as IBM, Qualcomm, MIT, GE, Samsung, Global Foundries, Taiwan Semiconductor, the US Navy, Broadcom, Shell Oil, Hitachi, Chinese electrical grid companies and BOE in China.


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