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Toward Practical Quantum Computers

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A step toward practical quantum computing.

Researchers have described how a prototype chip could trap ions in an electric field and direct laser light at each of them with built-in optics.

Credit: MIT News

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and MIT Lincoln Laboratory in a paper describe a step toward practical quantum computing via a prototype chip that can trap ions in an electric field and direct laser light toward each of them using built-in optics.

Lincoln Lab researcher Jeremy Sage thinks surface traps--chips with embedded electrodes--are an essential technology for enabling systems to scale to the number of ions needed for large-scale quantum computing.

The ions are only about 5 micrometers apart in a surface trap, which makes laser-striking an individual ion without affecting its neighbors very complicated.

MIT professor Rajeev Ram and graduate student Karan Mehta have designed and constructed a suite of on-chip optical components that channel laser light toward single ions which, in conjunction with a retooled surface trap, was used to test the new system. The researchers assessed the performance of the chip's diffraction gratings and ion traps, but they lacked a mechanism for varying the amount of light sent to each ion.

They are exploring the addition of light modulators to the diffraction gratings so different quantum bits (qubits) can simultaneously receive light of different, time-varying intensities, thus boosting the efficiency of qubit programming.

From MIT News
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