Home Computing Groundbreaking Discovery in Graphene Paves the Way for Robust Quantum Computing

Groundbreaking Discovery in Graphene Paves the Way for Robust Quantum Computing

Physicists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have made a significant breakthrough in the field of quantum physics and computing. They have successfully observed the elusive fractional quantum anomalous Hall effect in five layers of graphene – without the need for an external magnetic field. This discovery has the potential to revolutionize quantum computing by paving the way for more robust and fault-tolerant systems.

Unraveling the Fractional Charge Phenomenon

The fractional quantum anomalous Hall effect, also known as fractional charge, is a rare and complex phenomenon. It is observed when electrons pass through as fractions of their total charge. Traditionally, the occurrence of this effect requires high magnetic fields. However, the recent study by MIT physicists has challenged this conventional understanding.

According to the study, the stacked structure of graphene inherently provides the right conditions for the manifestation of the fractional charge effect. This groundbreaking discovery opens up new possibilities for quantum computing and further exploration of rare electronic states in multilayer graphene.

A Game-Changer in Graphene Research

The MIT research team explored the electronic behavior in pentalayer graphene, a structure comprising five graphene sheets each stacked slightly off from the other. When placed in an ultracold refrigerator, the electrons in the structure slow down significantly. This allows the particles to sense each other and interact in ways they wouldn’t when moving at higher temperatures.

This discovery challenges previous assumptions about graphene’s properties and introduces new dimensions to our understanding of its crystalline structure. Moreover, the researchers believe that aligning the pentalayer structure with hexagonal boron nitride could enhance electron interactions, potentially yielding a moiré superlattice.

The Implications for Quantum Computing

The successful detection of fractional charge in graphene without the need for an external magnetic field is a significant milestone in the pursuit of more robust quantum computing systems. This ‘no magnets’ discovery could significantly simplify the path to topological quantum computing, a promising branch of quantum computing that leverages the properties of quantum bits (qubits) to perform complex computations.

Moreover, the observation of both integer and fractional quantum anomalous Hall effects in a rhombohedral pentalayer graphene-hBN moiré superlattice at zero magnetic field provides an ideal platform for exploring charge fractionalization and non-Abelian anyonic braiding at zero magnetic field. This could lead to the development of more advanced quantum computing systems that are more resistant to errors and environmental interference.


The discovery by MIT physicists provides a promising route to more robust and fault-tolerant quantum computing systems. It also gives a fresh impetus to the exploration of rare electronic states in multilayer graphene. As the understanding of these exotic phenomena deepens, it could unlock new quantum phenomena and propel the field of quantum computing to new heights.



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