Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

SFU helps quantum computers move closer

08.06.2012
The quantum computer is a futuristic machine that could operate at speeds even more mind-boggling than the world’s fastest super-computers.
Research involving physicist Mike Thewalt of Simon Fraser University offers a new step towards making quantum computing a reality, through the unique properties of highly enriched and highly purified silicon.

Quantum computers right now exist pretty much in physicists’ concepts, and theoretical research. There are some basic quantum computers in existence, but nobody yet can build a truly practical one—or really knows how.

Such computers will harness the powers of atoms and sub-atomic particles (ions, photons, electrons) to perform memory and processing tasks, thanks to strange sub-atomic properties.

What Thewalt and colleagues at Oxford University and in Germany have found is that their special silicon allows processes to take place and be observed in a solid state that scientists used to think required a near-perfect vacuum.

And, using this “28Silicon” they have extended to three minutes—from a matter of seconds—the time in which scientists can manipulate, observe and measure the processes.

“It’s by far a record in solid-state systems,” Thewalt says. “If you’d asked people a few years ago if this was possible, they’d have said no. It opens new ways of using solid-state semi-conductors such as silicon as a base for quantum computing.

“You can start to do things that people thought you could only do in a vacuum. What we have found, and what wasn’t anticipated, are the sharp spectral lines (optical qualities) in the 28Silicon we have been testing. It’s so pure, and so perfect. There’s no other material like it.”

But the world is still a long way from practical quantum computers, he notes.

Quantum computing is a concept that challenges everything we know or understand about today’s computers.

Your desktop or laptop computer processes “bits” of information. The bit is a fundamental unit of information, seen by your computer has having a value of either “1” or “0”.

That last paragraph, when written in Word, contains 181 characters including spaces. In your home computer, that simple paragraph is processed as a string of some 1,448 “1”s and “0”s.

But in the quantum computer, the “quantum bit” (also known as a “qubit”) can be both a “1” and a “0”—and all values between 0 and 1—at the same time.

Says Thewalt: “A classical 1/0 bit can be thought of as a person being either at the North or South Pole, whereas a qubit can be anywhere on the surface of the globe—its actual state is described by two parameters similar to latitude and longitude.”

Make a practical quantum computer with enough qubits available and it could complete in minutes calculations that would take today’s super-computers years, and your laptop perhaps millions of years.

The work by Thewalt and his fellow researchers opens up yet another avenue of research and application that may, in time, lead to practical breakthroughs in quantum computing.

Their paper will be published Friday in Science ( http://www.sciencemag.org ).

Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities

Don MacLachlan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sfu.ca

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>