Resurrecting Niobium for Quantum Science

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The Josephson junction is the information-processing heart of the superconducting qubit. Pictured here is the niobium Josephson junction engineered by David Schuster of Stanford University and his team. Their junction design has resurrected niobium as a viable option as a core qubit material (image by Alexander Anferov/the University of Chicago’s Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility).

March 5, 2024 | Originally published by Argonne National Laboratory on February 26, 2024

For years, niobium was considered an underperformer when it came to superconducting qubits. Now scientists supported by Q-NEXT have found a way to engineer a high-performing niobium-based qubit and take advantage of niobium’s superior qualities.

When it comes to quantum technology, niobium is making a comeback.

For the past 15 years, niobium has been sitting on the bench after experiencing a few mediocre at-bats as a core qubit material.