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
NASA laser communications to provide Orion faster connections
30.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Pinball at the atomic level
30.03.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
30.03.2017 | Studies and Analyses
30.03.2017 | Life Sciences