Quantum State of Single Electrons Controlled by ‘Surfing’ on Sound Waves


3D render of the semiconductor nanostructure

Credit: Hermann Edlbauer

Our company believe that utilizing spin might result in a quantum computer system which is even more robust, considering that spin interactions are set by the laws of nature

Hugo Lepage

The global group, consisting of scientists from the University of Cambridge, sent out high-frequency acoustic waves throughout a customized semiconductor gadget to direct the behaviour of a single electron, with effectiveness in excess of 99%. The outcomes are reported in the journal Nature Communications.

A quantum computer system would have the ability to fix formerly unsolvable computational issues by capitalizing of the unusual behaviour of particles at the subatomic scale, and quantum phenomena such as entanglement and superposition. Nevertheless, specifically managing the behaviour of quantum particles is a massive job.

“What would make a quantum computer so powerful is its ability to scale exponentially,” stated co-author Hugo Lepage, a PhD prospect in Cambridge’s Cavendish Lab, who carried out the theoretical work for the present research study. “In a classical computer, to double the amount of information you have to double the number of bits. But in a quantum computer, you’d only need to add one more quantum bit, or qubit, to double the information.”

Last month, scientists from Google declared to have actually reached ‘quantum supremacy’, the point at which a quantum computer system can carry out estimations beyond the capability of the most effective supercomputers. Nevertheless, the quantum computer systems which Google, IBM and others are establishing are based on superconducting loops, which are complicated circuits and, like all quantum systems, are extremely delicate.

“The smallest fluctuation or deviation will corrupt the quantum information contained in the phases and currents of the loops,” stated Lepage. “This is still very new technology and expansion beyond the intermediate scale may require us to go down to the single particle level.”

Rather of superconducting loops, the quantum info in the quantum computer system Lepage and his associates are developing utilize the ‘spin’ of an electron – its fundamental angular momentum, which can be up or down – to keep quantum info.

“Harnessing spin to power a functioning quantum computer is a more scalable approach than using superconductivity, and we believe that using spin could lead to a quantum computer which is far more robust, since spin interactions are set by the laws of nature,” stated Lepage.

Utilizing spin permits the quantum info to be more quickly incorporated with existing systems. The gadget established in the present work is based on widely-used semiconductors with some small adjustments.

The gadget, which was checked experimentally by Lepage’s co-authors from the Institut Néel, determines simply a couple of millionths of a metre long. The scientists laid metal gates over a semiconductor and used a voltage, which produced a complicated electrical field. The scientists then directed high-frequency acoustic waves over the gadget, triggering it to vibrate and misshape, like a small earthquake. As the acoustic waves propagate, they trap the electrons, pressing them through the gadget in an extremely exact method, as if the electrons are ‘surfing’ on the acoustic waves.

The scientists had the ability to manage the behaviour of a single electron with 99.5% effectiveness. “To control a single electron in this way is already difficult, but to get to a point where we can have a working quantum computer, we need to be able to control multiple electrons, which get exponentially more difficult as the qubits start to interact with each other,” stated Lepage.

In the coming months, the scientists will start checking the gadget with numerous electrons, which would bring a working quantum computer system another action better.

The research study was moneyed in part by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program.

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