Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

GTRI researchers design and test microfabricated planar ion traps

26.05.2010
Despite a steady improvement in the speed of conventional computers during the last few decades, certain types of problems remain computationally difficult to solve.

Quantum computers hold the promise of offering a new route to solving some classes of these problems, such as breaking encryptions. The tremendous computing power of these devices stems from their use of quantum systems, called "qubits," which can exist in a "superposition" of two states at the same time – in stark contrast to the transistors in conventional computers that can only be in the state "0" or "1".

"Though a practical quantum computer may still be decades away, research being conducted today is laying the groundwork for such a device by bridging the vast gap between the theory and practice of quantum information processing," said Dick Slusher, a principal research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and director of the Georgia Tech Quantum Institute.

One path toward creating quantum computers is to use trapped ions as the qubits. However, it is currently difficult to scale up conventional ion traps into an array large enough to create a useful quantum computer.

At GTRI, researchers are designing, fabricating and testing planar ion traps that can be more readily combined into large, interconnected trap arrays. Details of the research effort, led by Slusher and GTRI senior research scientist Alexa Harter, were presented at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics on May 26 and 27.

The presentations were made by GTRI postdoctoral fellow Charlie Doret, GTRI research scientist Arkadas Ozakin and Georgia Tech electrical and computer engineering graduate student Fayaz Shaikh. This research is funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through contracts with the Army Research Office.

GTRI's microfabricated planar ion traps employ a combination of radio-frequency signals and static voltages applied to aluminum electrodes that are layered on silicon wafers.

"These planar trap geometries are advantageous because they are scalable to large systems of ions and also offer improved laser access compared to currently available traps," said Doret.

Lasers are applied to the ions to induce "entanglement" – a quantum mechanical property whereby the states involved cannot be completely described independently. Using systems of trapped ions, researchers have measured entanglement clearly and can preserve it for extended periods of time. To date, however, the largest number of entangled particles ever achieved in a quantum computer is eight calcium ions. At least thirty ions are required to perform calculations that cannot be realized on a classical computer, so a major challenge for the future is to increase the number of trapped ions that can interact.

The GTRI team has used state-of-the-art computer simulations of the electromagnetic trapping fields and the trapped ion motion to design versatile traps capable of holding many ions. Trap designs were improved using genetic algorithms that fed back to the shapes and spacing of trap electrodes to optimize trap depth and minimize heating when ions were transported between trapping zones.

Prototypes of the designs were fabricated with the help of Kevin Martin, a principal research scientist in the Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Research Center. The research team then tested the prototypes in GTRI's ion trapping laboratory, where calcium ions were first trapped in October 2009 using devices designed and fabricated at Georgia Tech.

Experimental data on trap loading efficiency, ion lifetime and ion shuttling efficiency were used to validate the designs and provide feedback for additional improvements.

The GTRI team is working with researchers at Duke University to integrate optics directly into the ion traps, while researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are testing the devices in a cryogenic environment.

In collaboration with the University of Maryland, GTRI researchers are also investigating the use of an array of trapped ions and/or ultra-cold atoms trapped in optical lattices for applications in quantum simulation.

"We still have much to learn about individual quantum systems, how to connect them, how to control them, how to measure them and how to fix the inevitable errors," added Slusher.

Future work at GTRI will include testing new trap designs, such as linear traps optimized for holding long ion chains.

"This field requires a multidisciplinary effort and Georgia Tech has the synergy and strengths in the technology and science areas and the fabrication facilities to make real progress," added Slusher.

This material is based upon work supported by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) Scaled Multiplexed Ion Trap project under U.S. Army Award No. W911NF-08-1-0315, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Optical Lattice Emulator program under U.S. Army Award No. W911NF-07-1-0576. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the researchers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Army.

Abby Vogel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gatech.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties
20.11.2018 | Institut national de la recherche scientifique - INRS

nachricht How to melt gold at room temperature
20.11.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology

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: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties

20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>