During their research for a new paper on quantum computing, HongWen Jiang, a UCLA professor of physics, and Joshua Schoenfield, a graduate student in his lab, ran into a recurring problem: They were so excited about the progress they were making that when they logged in from home to their UCLA desktop which allows only one user at a time the two scientists repeatedly knocked each other off of the remote connection.
The reason for their enthusiasm: Jiang and his team created a way to measure and control the energy differences of electron valley states in silicon quantum dots, which are a key component of quantum computing research. The technique could bring quantum computing one step closer to reality.
Its so exciting, said Jiang, a member of the California NanoSystems Institute. We didnt want to wait until the next day to find out the outcome.
Quantum computing could enable more complex information to be encoded on much smaller computer chips, and it holds promise for faster, more secure problem-solving and communications than todays computers allow.
In standard computers, the fundamental components are switches called bits, which use 0s and 1s to indicate that they are off or on. The building blocks of quantum computers, on the other hand, are quantum bits, or qubits.
The UCLA researchers breakthrough was being able to measure and control a specific state of a silicon quantum dot, known as a valley state, an essential property of qubits. The research was published in Nature Communications.
An individual qubit can exist in a complex wave-like mixture of the state 0 and the state 1 at the same time, said Schoenfield, the papers first author. To solve problems, qubits must interfere with each other like ripples in a pond. So controlling every aspect of their wave-like nature is essential.
Silicon quantum dots are small, electrically confined regions of silicon, only tens of nanometers across, that can trap electrons. Theyre being studied by Jiangs lab and by researchers around the world for their possible use in quantum computing because they enable scientists to manipulate electrons spin and charge.
Besides electrons spin and charge, another of their most important properties is their valley state, which specifies where an electron will settle in the non-flat energy landscape of silicons crystalline structure. The valley state represents a location in the electrons momentum, as opposed to an actual physical location.
Scientists have realized only recently that controlling valley states is critical for encoding and analyzing silicon-based qubits, because even the tiniest imperfections in a silicon crystal can alter valley energies in unpredictable ways.
Imagine standing on top of a mountain and looking down to your left and right, noticing that the valleys on either side appear to be the same but knowing that one valley was just 1 centimeter deeper than the other, said Blake Freeman, a UCLA graduate student and co-author of the study. In quantum physics, even that small of a difference is extremely important for our ability to control electrons spin and charge states.
At normal temperatures, electrons bounce around, making it difficult for them to rest in the lowest energy point in the valley. So to measure the tiny energy difference between two valley states, the UCLA researchers placed silicon quantum dots inside a cooling chamber at a temperature near absolute zero, which allowed the electrons to settle down. By shooting fast electrical pulses of voltage through them, the scientists were able to move single electrons in and out of the valleys. The tiny difference in energy between the valleys was determined by observing the speed of the electrons rapid switching between valley states.
After manipulating the electrons, the researchers ran a nanowire sensor very close to the electrons. Measuring the wires resistance allowed them to gauge the distance between an electron and the wire, which in turn enabled them to determine which valley the electron occupied.
The technique also enabled the scientists, for the first time, to measure the extremely small energy difference between the two valleys which had been impossible using any other existing method.
In the future, the researchers hope to use more sophisticated voltage pulses and device designs to achieve full control over multiple interacting valley-based qubits.
The dream is to have an array of hundreds or thousands of qubits all working together to solve a difficult problem, Schoenfield said. This work is an important step toward realizing that dream.
The research was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office.
- Senate bills would make quantum computing a priority - June 10th, 2018
- What is quantum computing? - Definition from WhatIs.com - February 5th, 2018
- The Era of Quantum Computing Is Here. Outlook: Cloudy ... - January 26th, 2018
- IBM puts its quantum computer to work in relaxing, nerdy ASMR ... - January 8th, 2018
- Quantum computing is going to change the world. Here's what ... - January 8th, 2018
- Is Quantum Computing an Existential Threat to Blockchain ... - December 25th, 2017
- What is Quantum Computing? | SAP News Center - December 23rd, 2017
- Quantum Computing Explained | What is Quantum Computing? - December 21st, 2017
- New silicon structure opens the gate to quantum computers - December 14th, 2017
- Microsoft offers developers a preview of its quantum ... - December 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is the Next Big Security Risk | WIRED - December 8th, 2017
- Yale Professors Race Google and IBM to the First Quantum ... - November 16th, 2017
- IBM's processor pushes quantum computing ... - engadget.com - November 16th, 2017
- Quantum computing - news.microsoft.com - November 1st, 2017
- Intel Takes First Steps To Universal Quantum Computing - October 13th, 2017
- Qudits: The Real Future of Quantum Computing? - IEEE Spectrum - October 13th, 2017
- quantum computing - engadget.com - October 13th, 2017
- Quantum Computing | Intel Newsroom - October 13th, 2017
- What will you actually use quantum computing for? | ZDNet - October 11th, 2017
- Here's what quantum computing is and why it matters - October 6th, 2017
- Microsoft just upped its multi-million bet on quantum computing - ZDNet - September 7th, 2017
- Microsoft's Aussie quantum computing lab set to scale up next-gen ... - ARNnet - September 7th, 2017
- An Entirely New Type of Quantum Computing Has Just Been Invented - Futurism - September 7th, 2017
- Quantum computing event explores the implications for business - Cambridge Network - August 30th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is Coming at Us Fast, So Here's Everything You Need to Know - ScienceAlert - August 27th, 2017
- How quantum mechanics can change computing - San Francisco ... - San Francisco Chronicle - August 25th, 2017
- Commonwealth Bank investing in Australia's first quantum computer company - Which-50 (blog) - August 25th, 2017
- How quantum mechanics can change computing - The Conversation US - August 23rd, 2017
- Introducing Australia's first quantum computing hardware company - Computerworld Australia - August 23rd, 2017
- IEEE Approves Standards Project for Quantum Computing ... - insideHPC - August 23rd, 2017
- $495.3 Million Quantum Computing Market 2017 by Revenue Source, Application, Industry, and Geography - Global ... - PR Newswire (press release) - August 18th, 2017
- Physicists Have Made Exotic Quantum States From Light - Futurism - August 16th, 2017
- Machine learning tackles quantum error correction - Phys.Org - August 15th, 2017
- Quantum Internet Is 13 Years Away. Wait, What's Quantum Internet? - WIRED - August 15th, 2017
- Blind quantum computing for everyone - Phys.org - Phys.Org - August 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Is Real, and D-Wave Just Open ... - WIRED - August 12th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Market Worth 495.3 Million USD by 2023 | 08 ... - Markets Insider - August 10th, 2017
- China uses a quantum satellite to transmit potentially unhackable data - CNBC - August 10th, 2017
- Physicists Take Big Step Towards Quantum Computing and ... - Universe Today - August 1st, 2017
- Why you might trust a quantum computer with secretseven over ... - Phys.Org - July 12th, 2017
- Quantum-computer node uses two different ion species - physicsworld.com - July 10th, 2017
- Quantum Computers vs Bitcoin How Worried Should We Be? - The Merkle - July 10th, 2017
- Quantum cheques could be a forgery-free way to move money - New Scientist - July 10th, 2017
- Quantum Computers Made Even More Powerful with New microchip generating 'Qudits' - TrendinTech - July 8th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Record Broken - Wall Street Pit - July 8th, 2017
- Alkermes and IBM's quantum computing. Who'll be the big winner? Malcolm Berko - Durham Herald Sun - July 6th, 2017
- Qudits: The Real Future of Quantum Computing? - IEEE Spectrum - IEEE Spectrum - July 1st, 2017
- Google to Achieve "Supremacy" in Quantum Computing by the End of 2017 - Big Think - July 1st, 2017
- Quantum Computing Becomes More Accessible - Scientific American - July 1st, 2017
- Tektronix AWG Pulls Test into Era of Quantum Computing - Electronic Design - June 2nd, 2017
- Toward mass-producible quantum computers | MIT News - MIT News - June 2nd, 2017
- Purdue, Microsoft Partner On Quantum Computing Research | WBAA - WBAA - June 2nd, 2017
- IBM boosts power of quantum computing processors as it lays ... - www.computing.co.uk - May 22nd, 2017
- IBM makes leap in quantum computing power - ITworld - May 22nd, 2017
- The Bizarre Quantum Test That Could Keep Your Data Secure - WIRED - May 18th, 2017
- Molecular magnets closer to application in quantum computing - Next Big Future - May 15th, 2017
- Inside Microsoft's 'soup to nuts' quantum computing ramp-up - Computerworld Australia - April 29th, 2017
- Quantum computing is about to disrupt the government contracts market - Bloomberg Government (blog) - April 22nd, 2017
- Scientists: We Have Detected the Existence of a Fundamentally New State of Matter - Futurism - April 22nd, 2017
- What Sorts Of Problems Are Quantum Computers Good For? - Forbes - April 22nd, 2017
- quantum computing - WIRED UK - April 22nd, 2017
- What is Quantum Computing? Webopedia Definition - March 18th, 2017
- Here Is Everything You Need to Know About Quantum Computers - Interesting Engineering - March 18th, 2017
- Quantum Computing Market Forecast 2017-2022 | Market ... - March 18th, 2017
- Mathematician breaks down how to defend against quantum ... - Phys.Org - February 28th, 2017