Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Quantum computing moves forward

New tech­nolo­gies that exploit quan­tum behav­ior for com­put­ing and other appli­ca­tions are closer than ever to being real­ized due to recent advances, accord­ing to a review arti­cle pub­lished this week in the jour­nal Sci­ence.
A sil­i­con chip lev­i­tates indi­vid­ual atoms used in quan­tum infor­ma­tion pro­cess­ing. Photo: Curt Suplee and Emily Edwards, Joint Quan­tum Insti­tute and Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land. Credit: Science.

These advances could enable the cre­ation of immensely pow­er­ful com­put­ers as well as other appli­ca­tions, such as highly sen­si­tive detec­tors capa­ble of prob­ing bio­log­i­cal sys­tems. “We are really excited about the pos­si­bil­i­ties of new semi­con­duc­tor mate­ri­als and new exper­i­men­tal sys­tems that have become avail­able in the last decade,” said Jason Petta, one of the authors of the report and an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of physics at Prince­ton University.

Petta co-authored the arti­cle with David Awschalom of the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago, Lee Bas­set of the Uni­ver­sity of California-Santa Bar­bara, Andrew Dzu­rak of the Uni­ver­sity of New South Wales and Eve­lyn Hu of Har­vard University.

Two sig­nif­i­cant break­throughs are enabling this for­ward progress, Petta said in an inter­view. The first is the abil­ity to con­trol quan­tum units of infor­ma­tion, known as quan­tum bits, at room tem­per­a­ture. Until recently, tem­per­a­tures near absolute zero were required, but new diamond-based mate­ri­als allow spin qubits to be oper­ated on a table top, at room tem­per­a­ture. Diamond-based sen­sors could be used to image sin­gle mol­e­cules, as demon­strated ear­lier this year by Awschalom and researchers at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity and IBM Research (Sci­ence, 2013).

The sec­ond big devel­op­ment is the abil­ity to con­trol these quan­tum bits, or qubits, for sev­eral sec­onds before they lapse into clas­si­cal behav­ior, a feat achieved by Dzurak’s team (Nature, 2010) as well as Prince­ton researchers led by Stephen Lyon, pro­fes­sor of elec­tri­cal engi­neer­ing (Nature Mate­ri­als, 2012). The devel­op­ment of highly pure forms of sil­i­con, the same mate­r­ial used in today’s clas­si­cal com­put­ers, has enabled researchers to con­trol a quan­tum mechan­i­cal prop­erty known as “spin”. At Prince­ton, Lyon and his team demon­strated the con­trol of spin in bil­lions of elec­trons, a state known as coher­ence, for sev­eral sec­onds by using highly pure silicon-28.

Quantum-based tech­nolo­gies exploit the phys­i­cal rules that gov­ern very small par­ti­cles — such as atoms and elec­trons — rather than the clas­si­cal physics evi­dent in every­day life. New tech­nolo­gies based on “spin­tron­ics” rather than elec­tron charge, as is cur­rently used, would be much more pow­er­ful than cur­rent technologies.

In quantum-based sys­tems, the direc­tion of the spin (either up or down) serves as the basic unit of infor­ma­tion, which is anal­o­gous to the 0 or 1 bit in a clas­si­cal com­put­ing sys­tem. Unlike our clas­si­cal world, an elec­tron spin can assume both a 0 and 1 at the same time, a feat called entan­gle­ment, which greatly enhances the abil­ity to do computations.

A remain­ing chal­lenge is to find ways to trans­mit quan­tum infor­ma­tion over long dis­tances. Petta is explor­ing how to do this with col­lab­o­ra­tor Andrew Houck, asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of elec­tri­cal engi­neer­ing at Prince­ton. Last fall in the jour­nal Nature, the team pub­lished a study demon­strat­ing the cou­pling of a spin qubit to a par­ti­cle of light, known as a pho­ton, which acts as a shut­tle for the quan­tum information.

Yet another remain­ing hur­dle is to scale up the num­ber of qubits from a hand­ful to hun­dreds, accord­ing to the researchers. Sin­gle quan­tum bits have been made using a vari­ety of mate­ri­als, includ­ing elec­tronic and nuclear spins, as well as superconductors.

Some of the most excit­ing appli­ca­tions are in new sens­ing and imag­ing tech­nolo­gies rather than in com­put­ing, said Petta. “Most peo­ple agree that build­ing a real quan­tum com­puter that can fac­tor large num­bers is still a long ways out,” he said. “How­ever, there has been a change in the way we think about quan­tum mechan­ics – now we are think­ing about quantum-enabled tech­nolo­gies, such as using a spin qubit as a sen­si­tive mag­netic field detec­tor to probe bio­log­i­cal systems.”

Awschalom, David D., Bas­sett, Lee C. Dzu­rak, Andrew S., Hu, Eve­lyn L., and Petta, Jason R. 2013. Quan­tum Spin­tron­ics: Engi­neer­ing and Manip­u­lat­ing Atom-Like Spins in Semi­con­duc­tors. Sci­ence. Vol. 339 no. 6124 pp. 1174–1179. DOI: 10.1126/science.1231364

The research at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity was sup­ported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foun­da­tion, the David and Lucile Packard Foun­da­tion, US Army Research Office grant W911NF-08–1-0189, DARPA QuEST award HR0011-09–1-0007 and the US National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion through the Prince­ton Cen­ter for Com­plex Mate­ri­als (DMR-0819860) and CAREER award DMR-0846341.

Catherine Zandonella | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm
23.03.2018 | Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics

nachricht Drug or duplicate?
23.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF

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: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>