Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

GTRI researchers design and test microfabricated planar ion traps

26.05.2010
Despite a steady improvement in the speed of conventional computers during the last few decades, certain types of problems remain computationally difficult to solve.

Quantum computers hold the promise of offering a new route to solving some classes of these problems, such as breaking encryptions. The tremendous computing power of these devices stems from their use of quantum systems, called "qubits," which can exist in a "superposition" of two states at the same time – in stark contrast to the transistors in conventional computers that can only be in the state "0" or "1".

"Though a practical quantum computer may still be decades away, research being conducted today is laying the groundwork for such a device by bridging the vast gap between the theory and practice of quantum information processing," said Dick Slusher, a principal research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and director of the Georgia Tech Quantum Institute.

One path toward creating quantum computers is to use trapped ions as the qubits. However, it is currently difficult to scale up conventional ion traps into an array large enough to create a useful quantum computer.

At GTRI, researchers are designing, fabricating and testing planar ion traps that can be more readily combined into large, interconnected trap arrays. Details of the research effort, led by Slusher and GTRI senior research scientist Alexa Harter, were presented at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics on May 26 and 27.

The presentations were made by GTRI postdoctoral fellow Charlie Doret, GTRI research scientist Arkadas Ozakin and Georgia Tech electrical and computer engineering graduate student Fayaz Shaikh. This research is funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through contracts with the Army Research Office.

GTRI's microfabricated planar ion traps employ a combination of radio-frequency signals and static voltages applied to aluminum electrodes that are layered on silicon wafers.

"These planar trap geometries are advantageous because they are scalable to large systems of ions and also offer improved laser access compared to currently available traps," said Doret.

Lasers are applied to the ions to induce "entanglement" – a quantum mechanical property whereby the states involved cannot be completely described independently. Using systems of trapped ions, researchers have measured entanglement clearly and can preserve it for extended periods of time. To date, however, the largest number of entangled particles ever achieved in a quantum computer is eight calcium ions. At least thirty ions are required to perform calculations that cannot be realized on a classical computer, so a major challenge for the future is to increase the number of trapped ions that can interact.

The GTRI team has used state-of-the-art computer simulations of the electromagnetic trapping fields and the trapped ion motion to design versatile traps capable of holding many ions. Trap designs were improved using genetic algorithms that fed back to the shapes and spacing of trap electrodes to optimize trap depth and minimize heating when ions were transported between trapping zones.

Prototypes of the designs were fabricated with the help of Kevin Martin, a principal research scientist in the Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Research Center. The research team then tested the prototypes in GTRI's ion trapping laboratory, where calcium ions were first trapped in October 2009 using devices designed and fabricated at Georgia Tech.

Experimental data on trap loading efficiency, ion lifetime and ion shuttling efficiency were used to validate the designs and provide feedback for additional improvements.

The GTRI team is working with researchers at Duke University to integrate optics directly into the ion traps, while researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are testing the devices in a cryogenic environment.

In collaboration with the University of Maryland, GTRI researchers are also investigating the use of an array of trapped ions and/or ultra-cold atoms trapped in optical lattices for applications in quantum simulation.

"We still have much to learn about individual quantum systems, how to connect them, how to control them, how to measure them and how to fix the inevitable errors," added Slusher.

Future work at GTRI will include testing new trap designs, such as linear traps optimized for holding long ion chains.

"This field requires a multidisciplinary effort and Georgia Tech has the synergy and strengths in the technology and science areas and the fabrication facilities to make real progress," added Slusher.

This material is based upon work supported by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) Scaled Multiplexed Ion Trap project under U.S. Army Award No. W911NF-08-1-0315, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Optical Lattice Emulator program under U.S. Army Award No. W911NF-07-1-0576. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the researchers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Army.

Abby Vogel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gatech.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A tale of two pulsars' tails: Plumes offer geometry lessons to astronomers
18.01.2017 | Penn State

nachricht Studying fundamental particles in materials
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>