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World's 'coolest' LEGO to help develop quantum computers

To conduct the experiment and bring down the temperature of LEGO to the lowest ever, one LEGO figure and four LEGO blocks were placed inside a special dilution refrigerator.

December 26, 2019 / 11:32 AM IST

For the first time ever, popular toy LEGO will be boasting of new-found usage in scientific research. An experiment was conducted to cool down LEGO to the lowest possible temperature and it was successful. Now, the toy with special properties will have the capability to come of use in developing quantum computing.

According to a Phys.org report, a team of the world’s top ultra-low temperature scientists from Lancaster University conducted the experiment, which involved placing one LEGO figure and four LEGO blocks inside a special dilution refrigerator.

The avant garde refrigerator was also built at the University and is known to be the world’s only machine that has the capability of dipping to temperatures as low as minus 273.15 Centigrade. That means it can cool anything to temperatures 2,00,000 times lower than room temperature and 2,000 times more chilling than even deep space.

The research was led by Doctor Dmitry Zmeev and the study results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Talking about the significance of the research, the team lead said: “Our results are important because we found that the clamping arrangement between the LEGO blocks causes the LEGO structures to behave as an extremely good thermal insulator at cryogenic temperatures. This is very desirable for construction materials used for the design of future scientific equipment like dilution refrigerators.”

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The special dilution refrigerator was invented 50 years ago and is still considered a crucial part of all modern physics and engineering experiments, which includes the development of quantum computers.

Due to the success of this experiment, scientists will now be able to replace solid materials with ABS plastic blocks (like LEGO), while building thermal insulators. As a result, the cost of producing insulators will go down remarkably too.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Dec 26, 2019 11:32 am

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