Direct view of tantalum oxidation that impedes qubit coherence

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Scientists have used a combination of scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and computational modeling to get a closer look and deeper understanding of tantalum oxide. When this amorphous oxide layer forms on the surface of tantalum — a superconductor that shows great promise for making the ‘qubit’ building blocks of a quantum computer — it can impede the material’s ability to retain quantum information. Learning how the oxide forms may offer clues as to why this happens — and potentially point to ways to prevent quantum coherence loss.
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