Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The cool way to build the world's fastest computer

25.09.2006
A University of Sussex scientist and his American colleagues have solved a mystery that limits the performance of the world's fastest computer, the quantum computer, after making an unexpected discovery.

Quantum technology is set to revolutionise our lives. Extremely fast computers that are based on this technology could solve mysteries in the understanding of our world, such as understanding chemical reactions and ultimately creating new medicines. The same technology already provides ultra-secure communications systems, and could be used in code-breaking to reveal answers to highly-complex questions, such as how the universe was created.

In the last few years ground breaking discoveries have been made showing great promise in a particular technology in which atoms are trapped and manipulated using laser and electric fields. These "ion traps", which are devices that trap single charged atoms (ions), can be used to process and transport vast amounts of information.

But while scientists have the knowledge of what a quantum computer could do, the challenge so far has been in how to build one on a small enough scale. An ion trap quantum computer would require millions of ion traps, resulting in a machine so large that it would fill a laboratory. The smaller the ion trap, the larger is the detrimental effect of "noise". Noise is the random motion of the atom created by electric fields that may prevent such a computer from working.

Now Dr Winfried Hensinger, lecturer in atomic molecular and optical physics at the University of Sussex, has worked with colleagues at the University of Michigan to successfully build a new type of ion trap. Louis Deslauriers, a graduate student at the University of Michigan (now a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University) spearheaded the effort to build an ion trap that can change its size. Using this complicated experimental device, the scientists could measure exactly how the noise is related to the size of the ion trap and more importantly answer the question how small an ion trap computer could be made. In the process the team also made the world's smallest ion trap - just 0.023 mms from electrode to ion, equivalent to the width of a single hair.

In order to understand the mechanism behind such noise, the team tried cooling the electrodes that form the ion trap on either side of the ion to -120 degs C and made a surprising discovery. Most of the noise actually disappeared. This could mean that an ion trap quantum computer could be made much smaller than previously expected simply by cooling the electrodes.

Dr Hensinger said: "This is a very exciting discovery, and means that we now have a very realistic chance to develop the world's first large-scale quantum computer."

The latest successful research, which is published in Physical Review Letters (September 8, 2006), builds on previous work by Dr Hensinger and his colleagues on the chip fabrication of ion trap arrays and the microscopic manipulation of atoms. The research was carried out in the laboratory of Prof. Christopher Monroe at the University of Michigan.

Dr Hensinger, who heads the Ion Quantum Technology Group at the University of Sussex, says: "Quantum computer technology is likely to unlock some of science's biggest secrets, not only by processing information hundreds of times faster than current computers, but also by giving more accurate results. It is a very exciting and dynamic area of research and research at the University of Sussex will play an important role."

Jacqui Bealing | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sussex.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>