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Supersized Atoms Could Help Quantum Computers Link to Optical Fibers


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The device could enable quantum computers to transmit signals through optical fibers.

Johannes Fink at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria says the new device could be used to connect superconducting quantum computers to other types of quantum computers, like those built from charged atoms.

Credit: Valentyn Volkov/Shutterstock

Harvard University researchers developed a device that could enable multiple quantum computers to be networked together by converting quantum outputs into light signals that can travel through optical fibers.

The researchers built a device comprised of a 2-centimeter-long rectangular piece of niobium metal, with three narrow tunnels that intersect in the middle.

After placing the niobium in a cooler that maintained a temperature of -268°C (-450°F), activating its superconductivity, the researchers mimicked quantum computer output signals by running a beam of millimeter-waves through one tunnel.

Supersized rubidium atoms were placed into the second tunnel to absorb the millimeter-wave photons and emit light photons.

The conversion was achieved by shining a blue and ultraviolet laser in the third tunnel.

Institute of Science and Technology Austria's Johannes Fink said the device could be used to create hybrid computers by, for instance, linking superconducting quantum computers to those built from charged atoms.

From New Scientist
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