Stanford University Engineers have shown that a novel design for a quantum computer that could help the practical versions of the machine will eventually become reality, reveal a New Atlas report.
The new design sees a single atom entangled with a series of photons, allowing it to process & store more information, as well as work at room temperature, unlike the prototype machines that companies like Google & IBM are developing.
New design uses simple components
Quantum computers rely on qubits rather than the ones & zeros, or bits, of classical computing. Qubits can exist in three different states: one, zero, or a superposition of one & zero at the same time, which means they can, in theory, perform calculations that classic computers would take thousands of years to achieve.
Although quantum computers have the ability to perform such complex tasks, until now they have been hindered by their sensitivity to heat & vibration, an issue that means they must be kept at temperatures close to absolute zero.
The Stanford team says their design eliminates much of the complexity that results in increased sensitivity to external disturbances. It is basically a giant photonic circuit made using a fiber optic cable, a beam splitter, two optical switches & an optical cavity. These are used to make the 2 main components of machine: a storage ring from the fiber optic cable & a dispersion unit.
“Normally, if you were to build this type of quantum computer, you would potentially have to take thousands of quantum emitters, make them all perfectly indistinguishable, & then fit them into a giant photonic circuit,” Ben Bartlett, lead author of study explains in a press release. “With this design, we only need a handful of relatively simple components, and the size of machine does not increase with size of the quantum program you want to run.
Harnessing quantum teleportation
The information contained in the machine are represented by the direction of the photon. One direction represents one, the other zero, and both at the same time (by the effects of quantum superposition) represent the 3rd state. All information is laser encoded into a single atom, which is entangled with photons. Since the atom can be reset & reused, the power of the computer can be scaled by simply adding photons in the ring. This eliminates the need to build multiple physical logic gates & thus greatly reduces the complexity of the machine.
“By measuring the state of atom, you can teleport operations to photons,” Bartlett explains. “So we just need a controllable atomic qubit & we can use it as a proxy to indirectly manipulate all other photon qubits.
Perhaps one of the main advantages of the Stanford team’s new system is that it can operate at room temperature, which means it can help significantly reduce the complexity of these machines, which promise to revolutionize computer problem solving capacity.