Chemists at Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) synthesise molecule as possible component for quantum computers
Quantum computers could vastly increase the capabilities of IT systems, bringing major changes worldwide. However, there is still a long way to go before such a device can actually be constructed, because it has not yet been possible to transfer existing molecular concepts into technologies in a practical way.
Jena doctoral student Benjamin Kintzel looks at a laboratory vessel containing crystals of a novel molecule that may possibly be used in a quantum computer.
(Photo: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU)
This has not kept researchers around the world away from developing and optimising new ideas for individual components. Chemists at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena (Germany) have now synthesised a molecule that can perform the function of a computing unit in a quantum computer. They report on their work in the current issue of the research journal ‘Chemical Communications’.
Molecule with sufficiently long-lived spin state
“To be able to use a molecule as a qubit – the basic unit of information in a quantum computer – it needs to have a sufficiently long-lived spin state, which can be manipulated from the outside,” explains Prof. Dr Winfried Plass of the Jena University.
“That means that the state resulting from the interacting spins of the molecule’s electrons, that is to say the spin state, has to be stable enough so that one can enter and read out information.” The molecule created by Plass and his team meets precisely this condition.
This molecule is what is called a coordination compound, containing both organic and metallic parts. “The organic material forms a frame, in which the metal ions are positioned in a very specific fashion,” says Benjamin Kintzel, who played a leading role in producing the molecule.
“In our case, this is a trinuclear copper complex. What is special about it is that within the molecule, the copper ions form a precise equilateral triangle.” Only in this way the electron spins of the three copper nuclei can interact so strongly that the molecule develops a spin state, which makes it a qubit that can be manipulated from the outside.
“Even though we already knew what our molecule should look like in theory, this synthesis is nevertheless quite a big challenge,” says Kintzel. “In particular, achieving the equilateral triangular positioning is difficult, as we had to crystallise the molecule in order to characterise it precisely. And it is hard to predict how such a particle will behave in the crystal.” However, with the use of various different chemical tools and fine-tuning procedures, the researchers succeeded in achieving the desired result.
Addressing information with electric fields
According to theoretical predictions, the molecule created in Jena offers an additional fundamental advantage compared with other qubits. “The theoretical construction plan of our copper compound provides that its spin state can be controlled at the molecular level using electric fields,” notes Plass.
“Up to now, magnetic fields have mainly been used, but with these you cannot focus on single molecules.” A research group in Oxford, UK, which is cooperating with the chemists from Jena, is currently conducting various experiments to study this characteristic of the molecule synthesised at the University of Jena.
The team of chemists in Jena is convinced that their molecule fulfils the requirements for being used as a qubit. However, it is difficult to foresee whether it really will have a future use as a computing unit. This is because it is not yet definitely known how molecules will actually be integrated into quantum computers. Chemical expertise is also needed to achieve this – and the experts in Jena are ready to face the challenge.
Prof. Dr Winfried Plass, Benjamin Kintzel
Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Humboldtstraße 8, 07743 Jena
Phone: +49 (0)3641 / 948130
Benjamin Kintzel et. al.: ‘Molecular electronic spin qubits from a spin-frustrated trinuclear copper complex’, Chemical Communications 2018, DOI: 10.1039/c8cc06741d
Sebastian Hollstein | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Looking for new antibiotics
08.04.2020 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Research against the corona virus - tissue models for rapid drug testing
08.04.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC
Published by Marc Tudela, Laura Becerra-Fajardo, Aracelys García-Moreno, Jesus Minguillon and Antoni Ivorra, in Access, the journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
The project Electronic AXONs: wireless microstimulators based on electronic rectification of epidermically applied currents (eAXON, 2017-2022), funded by a...
The Belle II experiment has been collecting data from physical measurements for about one year. After several years of rebuilding work, both the SuperKEKB electron–positron accelerator and the Belle II detector have been improved compared with their predecessors in order to achieve a 40-fold higher data rate.
Scientists at 12 institutes in Germany are involved in constructing and operating the detector, developing evaluation algorithms, and analyzing the data.
Electrolytes play a key role in many areas: They are crucial for the storage of energy in our body as well as in batteries. In order to release energy, ions - charged atoms - must move in a liquid such as water. Until now the precise mechanism by which they move through the atoms and molecules of the electrolyte has, however, remained largely unknown. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now shown that the electrical resistance of an electrolyte, which is determined by the motion of ions, can be traced back to microscopic vibrations of these dissolved ions.
In chemistry, common table salt is also known as sodium chloride. If this salt is dissolved in water, sodium and chloride atoms dissolve as positively or...
Drops of water falling on or sliding over surfaces may leave behind traces of electrical charge, causing the drops to charge themselves. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz have now begun a detailed investigation into this phenomenon that accompanies us in every-day life. They developed a method to quantify the charge generation and additionally created a theoretical model to aid understanding. According to the scientists, the observed effect could be a source of generated power and an important building block for understanding frictional electricity.
Water drops sliding over non-conducting surfaces can be found everywhere in our lives: From the dripping of a coffee machine, to a rinse in the shower, to an...
90 million-year-old forest soil provides unexpected evidence for exceptionally warm climate near the South Pole in the Cretaceous
An international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have now...
07.04.2020 | Event News
06.04.2020 | Event News
02.04.2020 | Event News
08.04.2020 | Physics and Astronomy
08.04.2020 | Information Technology
08.04.2020 | Medical Engineering