Feeds

Chinese boffins predict iPad-sized supercomputers

Quantum physics discovery could spur even lower power consumption

Security for virtualized datacentres

Chinese boffins are predicting iPad-shaped supercomputers could become a reality after observing for the first time a phenomenon known as the quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) effect, which could pave the way for a new generation of low energy-consumption electronics.

The QAH effect has never been observed in a laboratory environment, even though it was first predicted to occur in magnetic topological insulators by US scientist Edwin Hall over 130 years ago.

It refers to a type of quantum Hall effect which occurs in a zero magnetic field. Quantum Hall is explained well here but basically describes what happens when a magnetic field is applied perpendicular to a current running through a semiconductor – a voltage appears at its edges.

Tsinghua University explained the importance of the new discovery:

The dissipation-less edge states of the quantum Hall effect can be used for making new generation of low energy consumption transistors and electronic devices, which can help reduce the heating and energy cost of computers. However, the realisation of conventional quantum Hall effect needs a very strong magnetic field (more than 10,000 times larger than the earth magnetic field), making the application very challenging. The most fascinating property of the quantum anomalous Hall effect is that it occurs in zero magnetic field, which significantly facilitates the practical applications of the quantum Hall effect for low energy consumption electronics.

Research team leader Xue Qikun told Xinhua that if QAH can be tapped in the future it could help to overcome thermal dissipation in electronics caused by irregular electron collisions.

"The technology may even bring about a supercomputer in the shape of an iPad," he added.

The research by a team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tsinghua University and Stanford is published in Science magazine here and is already being tipped for a Nobel prize.

It would seem to be a strong contender, given that German physicist Klaus von Klitzing won a gong back in 1985 for his discovery of the quantum Hall effect. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.