APL cover image: 'Supercurrent-controlled kinetic inductance superconducting memory element'

March 15, 2021

Alexey Bezryadin for Illinois Physics

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This research by the Alexey Bezryadin group at Illinois Physics, was published in Applied Physics Letters and was selected as the cover image of the March 15, 2021 issue.

Large levels of dissipated power in large-scale silicon-based computing systems rapidly becomes one of the main problems in the information technology. Thus, the search for alternative computing devices continues. Superconducting supercomputers might offer a breakthrough solution since Joule heating is virtually zero in superconducting systems. Experimental superconducting computers have been studied in the past, but the absence of an effective superconducting memory system produces a major bottleneck.

We report a superconducting kinetic inductance memory (SKIM) element, which can be controlled exclusively by the bias supercurrent, without involving magnetic fields and heating elements. The kinetic inductance is provided by extremely narrow nanowires or nanobridges. The SKIM is a nonvolatile memory. The device is made of two Nb Dayem bridges, and it can operate reliably up to 2.8 K. The achieved error rate is as low as one in 105. The memory element could find applications in superconducting supercomputers.