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Engineers Are Modeling Quantum Computers Based on Sound

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A representation of a quantum computer.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics say that sound could be used to connect distant quantum bits.


Sound, instead of wires or fiber optics, could be used to connect distant quantum bits (qubits), according to researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics.

The researchers have described a theoretical model for their approach they say could lead to a new and improved "quantum bus," which could be constructed at micrometer scales with existing technology.

The team proposes using quantum sound in the form of surface-acoustic-wave (SAW) phonons in piezoactive materials as a universal mediator for long-range spin-spin couplings, instead of photons. SAWs are two-dimensional waves that travel across a material as flat ripples, and they have the advantage of being easily channeled using very fine etching. 

"Because of the plethora of physical properties associated with surface acoustic waves, our approach is accessible to a broad class of systems such as quantum dots, trapped ions, nitrogen-vacancy centers, or superconducting qubits," the researchers say.  

They note their proposed system opens up the possibility of implementing the on-chip many-quantum communication protocols from optical quantum networks.

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