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A conventionally manufactured silicon optical chip serves as the foundation for the researchers’ method.They make a thin, flexible silicon nitride film on a separate silicon chip, then deposit the superconductor niobium nitride in a pattern that can be used to detect photons.

They deposit gold electrodes at both ends of the resulting detector.Then, to one finish of the silicon nitride film, they join a little bead of polydimethylsiloxane, a sort of silicone.The silicone is then pressed against by a tungsten probe, which is typically used to measure voltages in experimental chips.

Englund says, “It’s almost like Silly Putty.”When you put it down, it spreads out and has a lot of surface contact, which it will keep even if you pick it up quickly.After that, it settles down, returning to a single location.Similar to attempting to pick up a coin with your finger.You quickly pick it up by pressing on it, and it will soon fall off.

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