Ambature in Canada has succeeded in growing a high-temperature superconducting (HTS) material on silicon, paving the way for high volume quantum sensors.
Ambature built its a-axis yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) high temperature superconductor material on silicon in its labs in Waterloo, Ontario. The YBCO material enables simpler fabrication of Josephson junctions—superconducting counterparts to transistors—in semiconductor foundries. The material YBCO transitions at around 90 Kelvin (-298°F or -183°C), which means it can be cooled by liquid nitrogen.
In turn, these Josephson junctions can be used to build sensors and extremely fast and energy-efficient high-performance computers needed for advanced applications.
The a-axis material is more suited to applications like data centres because cooling them is much easier says Ambature. Superconducting materials and circuits offer intrinsic benefits to telecommunications, medical diagnostics, autonomous vehicles, IoT and AI.
“This leap forward allows us to accelerate our plans to commercially scale our technology and become the bridge between semiconductor and superconductor electronics” said Ron Kelly, Ambature CEO.
“The recent high-quality growth of our material on silicon opens up the semiconductor industry to Ambature. Our superconducting sensors and computer processors can be fabricated at scale using existing equipment in semiconductor foundries” said Mitch Robson, Ambature Lead Scientist.
Amabture now has two ways to integrate the high temperature superconductor Josephson junctions with silicon—heterogeneously via thermocompression bonding for chiplets and now epitaxially via silicon substrates with buffer layers. The company, which also has a lab in Scottsdale, Arizona, owns and offers for license over 200 patents, with over 3800 unique patent claims, worldwide.
Ambature has previously produced an a-axis YBCO/NBCO superlattice that partially transitioned above 200K, prompting its lab partner at the time, a division of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to publish that Ambature has “fabricated and tested a material that arguably holds promises for room temperature superconductivity”. The company is growing and testing new superlattice materials to further investigate the potential of a-axis high temperature superconductors.