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 Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers
24.01.2017 | Institut national de la recherche scientifique - INRS

nachricht European XFEL prepares for user operation: Researchers can hand in first proposals for experiments
24.01.2017 | European XFEL GmbH

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: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | 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

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>