Proving you can literally fix and improve anything with tape, physicists at the University of Toronto have developed a simple technique to give semiconductors superconducting properties with a bit of clear sticky tape. And you thought duct tape was the hero of the adhesive world.
Integral to the development of quantum computing, superconductors are able to conduct electricity without losing energy through overheating -- when chilled to extremely cold temperatures. But only certain metallic compounds called cuprates have exhibited extremely high superconducting properties, and previous methods of incorporating them into room temperature semi-conductors have proven impossible. Until the U of T team tried using regular old office cellophane tape and thin glass slides. When they were sandwiched, the superconductor's properties were induced into a unique kind of semi-conductor known as a topological insulator for the first time ever.
What does that mean to us non-research types? Nothing just yet. But it's seemingly an important step towards the development of quantum computers which promise unfathomable processing and performance capabilities if and when they're ever perfected. [EurekaAlert! via Geekosystem]