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Quantum Computers Ditch All the Lasers For Easier Engineering

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Lasers are not the only option.

University of Sussex researchers have replaced the millions of lasers used in quantum computing systems with magnets and electromagnetic fields.

Credit: Richard Kail/Science Photo Library

Researchers from the University of Sussex in the U.K. have replaced the millions of lasers in traditional quantum computing systems with several static magnets and a few electromagnetic fields.

The new design led to a radical simplification of the engineering required to build a quantum system, which means researchers will now be able to construct a large-scale device, according to Sussex professor Winfried Hensinger.

In the new system, each ion is trapped by four permanent magnets, with a controllable voltage across the trap. The entire device is bathed in a set of tuned microwave and radio-frequency electromagnetic fields. Changing the voltage shifts the ions to a different position in the magnetic field, changing their state.

The researchers already have used the system to build and operate a quantum logic gate that involves entangling two ions. "It's a promising development, with good potential for scaling up," says National University of Singapore professor Manas Mukherjee, who was not involved in the project.

In addition, because the device uses current technologies, there are no known obstacles to scaling up to create a useful quantum computer.

From New Scientist
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