Researchers at Paul Scherrer Institute Detail New Blueprint for More Stable Quantum Computer
(EurekaAlert) Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have put forward a detailed plan of how faster and better defined quantum bits – qubits – can be created. The central elements are magnetic atoms from the class of so-called rare-earth metals, which would be selectively implanted into the crystal lattice of a material. Each of these atoms represents one qubit. The researchers have demonstrated how these qubits can be activated, entangled, used as memory bits, and read out.
The authors describe how logical bits and basic computer operations on them can be realised in a magnetic solid: qubits would reside on individual atoms from the class of rare-earth elements, built into the crystal lattice of a host material. On the basis of quantum physics, the authors calculate that the nuclear spin of the rare-earth atoms would be suitable for use as an information carrier, that is, a qubit. They further propose that targeted laser pulses could momentarily transfer the information to the atom’s electrons and thus activate the qubits, whereby their information becomes visible to surrounding atoms. Two such activated qubits communicate with each other and thus can be “entangled.” Entanglement is a special property of quantum systems of multiple particles or qubits that is essential for quantum computers: The result of measuring one qubit directly depends on the measurement results of other qubits, and vice versa.
“Our method of activating and entangling the qubits, however, has a decisive advantage over previous comparable proposals: It is at least ten times faster,” says Grimm. The advantage, though, is not only the speed with which a quantum computer based on this concept could calculate; above all, it addresses the system’s susceptibility to errors. “Qubits are not very stable. If the entanglement processes are too slow, there is a greater probability that some of the qubits will lose their information in the meantime,” Grimm explains. Ultimately, what the PSI researchers have discovered is a way of making this type of quantum computer not only at least ten times as fast as comparable systems, but also less error-prone by the same factor.