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Rice Physicists Move 1 Step Closer to Quantum Computer

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Topological insulator

In his quest to create a "topological insulator," Rice graduate student Ivan Knez spent hundreds of hours modifying tiny pieces of semiconductors in Rice University's clean room.

Credit: Courtesy of Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Rice University researchers have developed an electron superhighway that could be used to build a quantum computer.

The researchers, led by Rui-Rui-Du and Ivan Knez, developed a method for creating a quantum spin Hall topological insulator, which is one of the building blocks need to create quantum particles that store and manipulate data. "In terms of information density, a silicon microprocessor with 1 billion transistors would be roughly equal to a quantum processor with 30 qubits," Du says.

The researchers are working with topological quantum computing, which is expected to be more fault-tolerant than other types of quantum computers because each qubit in a topological quantum computer will be made from a pair of quantum particles, known as Majorana fermions, that have virtually immutable shared identity. If a small square of a topological insulator is attached to a superconductor, the researchers expect Majorana fermions to appear precisely where the materials meet, according to Knez.

From Rice University
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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