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Sandia, Harvard Team Create First Quantum Computer Bridge

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quantum bridge, illustration

This stylized illustration of a quantum bridge shows an array of holes etched in diamond with two silicon atoms placed between the holes.

Credit: Sandia National Laboratories

Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories and Harvard University have demonstrated for the first time on one chip all the elements needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together. They did this by forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix. The researchers used a focused ion beam implanter designed for blasting single ions into precise locations on a diamond substrate. With this technique they replaced one carbon atom of the diamond with the larger silicon atom, causing the two carbon atoms on either side of the silicon atom to feel crowded enough to flee.

The technique leaves the silicon atom buffered against stray electrical currents by the neighboring non-conducting vacancies. Although the silicon atoms are embedded in a solid, they behave as though they are floating in a gas, so their electrons' response to quantum stimuli are not obstructed by unwanted interactions with other matter. After the silicon atoms are embedded in the diamond substrate, laser-generated photons bump silicon electrons into their next higher atomic energy state. When the electrons return to the lower energy state, they produce quantized photons that carry information through their frequency, intensity, and the polarization of their wave.

From Sandia National Laboratories
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Abstracts Copyright © 2016 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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