Reading Out Qubits Like Toppling Dominoes: A New Scalable Approach Towards the Quantum Computer
(QuTech.News) Researchers at QuTech, a collaboration between TU Delft and TNO, have invented a new scalable approach towards the quantum compute by developing a method to readout qubits like toppling dominoes. That is an important step forward on the road towards a large-scale quantum computer. NOTE: QuTech is the co-producer of the InsideQuantumTechnology event series.
“Our new readout method is based on a phenomenon that all of us know from our childhood: toppling dominoes,” said Sjaak van Diepen, PhD researcher in Lieven Vandersypen’s group and lead author of the article. “A first transition triggers a second transition, a second transition triggers a third transition, and so on – much like dominoes toppling over in a chain reaction.” Considering the implications of this domino-effect led the team to invent a new readout method. It will be able to overcome a major challenge involved in scaling up towards large-scale quantum computers: that of qubit connectivity (the ability to connect many qubits together).
The approach of Vandersypen’s group to building a quantum computer is based on so-called spin qubits in quantum dot arrays. Quantum dots are very tiny islands that can each confine one or multiple electrons and are tunnel coupled to their neighbours. The spin of the electron acts as a qubit. Spin qubits in quantum dots are read out via a very sensitive detector that measures the charge in its environment. Van Diepen: “Charge sensors work well, but only locally: they need to be in close proximity to the charge they measure. Scaling up the current approach towards a large number of interconnected qubits will therefore limit qubit connectivity, because we would need to place sensors close to all qubits.”
The new readout scheme invented by the scientists makes sure that even a spin qubit far away from the charge sensor will still be read out with high accuracy. Tzu-Kan Hsiao, postdoc and second author of the paper: “Our readout method is based on the fact that charges interact with one another. Therefore, a first charge transition can trigger other charge transitions – forming a cascade of transitions.”