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We May Finally Soon Have The Ideal Building Block For Quantum Computers

We already have some form of quantum computer, but they are not yet practical, dependable, or large enough to fully fulfil the enormous promise of the technology.

Scientists are working toward what they believe may be the ideal building block for a quantum computer in order to move closer to that ultimate aim.

They are known as qubits, or quantum bits. These qubits may exist in a simultaneous 0 and 1 state, similar to the famous Schrödinger thought experiment in which a cat can be both alive and dead. This is in contrast to traditional computer bits, which can only hold either 1 or 0 at any given time.

A quantum increase in processing power is anticipated as a result of this capacity.

The new research's concept for a qubit is maybe the most perfect one yet, albeit there is still work to be done before it becomes a reality. There are many different ways to construct a qubit.

It is made up of one trapped electron sitting on some frozen neon gas. Afterward, the electron may be controlled using a superconducting quantum circuit.

According to quantum physicist Dafei Jin of the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, the electron-on-neon platform should be simple to construct and inexpensive.

"It would seem that an optimal qubit may be approaching."


The new qubit satisfies three key requirements outlined by the researchers. First, it must exhibit quantum coherence, which requires stability over a long time. A long time in quantum computing is equivalent to one second.


In this instance, interference is exceedingly difficult to penetrate the ultra-pure solid neon surface. The electron can be kept stable long enough by being contained in a vacuum to allow the qubit to be controlled for the job at hand.

Qubits must also have the ability to switch swiftly between states (in around a billionth of a second, or a nanosecond). Finally, they must be entanglement-capable, which means they must be able to connect with other qubits with ease.


The entire power and potential of quantum computing will be unlocked by those simultaneous multi-qubit processes.


The superconductor-based microwave resonator underlying the new qubit, which is essential for reading the qubit's state and gauging its performance, is another important component.

According to Xianjing Zhou of the Argonne National Laboratory, "With this platform, we established, for the first time ever, strong coupling between a single electron in a near-vacuum environment and a single microwave photon in the resonator."

This creates the opportunity for controlling individual electron qubits with microwave photons and connecting many of them in a quantum processor.


The only problem is that because to the severe temperature requirements, testing had to be done in a dilution refrigerator, a scientific device that can only lower temperatures to 10 millidegrees above absolute zero (that is, -273.15 degrees Celsius or -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit).

In light of this, it is obvious that we are not yet at the point where we can fit qubits like this into computers. However, even at this early stage, the qubit already outperforms alternatives that have been under development for decades in terms of coherence.

Despite the fact that businesses like Google, Microsoft, and IBM are moving forward with their own qubit designs, the academics behind the new technology they think theirs is the most promising one thus far.

Our ambitious objective, according to Jin, is to find and build a fundamentally new qubit system that may result in the creation of an ideal platform rather than to compete with those businesses.


The study was released in the journal Nature.

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