Billed as the future of computing, quantum computers are deemed capable of solving problems in a few milliseconds that a supercomputer may take millions of years to solve. Researchers at the University of Sussex have come up with a new method for making making large-scale quantum computers.
The applications of quantum computers will be phenomenal - they can create new materials and solutions that can address long-standing scientific and financial problems. Scientists have been trying to build quantum computers using different methods such as trapped ions and atoms, light particles and superconducting circuits, but the process has been technologically difficult.
The new method claims that building large-scale trapped-ion quantum computers will be easy if the required voltage is applied on the microchips for creating the quantum gates. Professor Winfried Hensinger and team showcased the technique in their paper "Trapped-Ion Quantum Logic with Global Radiation Fields," published in the journal Physical Review Letters on Nov. 23.
A Simpler Solution for Quantum Computers
Marking a departure from the conventional process, the new technology seems to be overcoming the limitations found in constructing quantum computers. These mainly involve aligning trapped ions with laser beams in order to convert the ions into quantum bits.
In making large-scale quantum computers, billions of quantum bits will be in play and to get billions of lasers to pair them up will be a challenge.
That is where the new method suggested by scientists at Sussex scores. The crux of the method is applying voltages to a quantum computer microchip instead of aligning laser beams to get the same effect.
"Developing this step-changing new technology has been a great adventure and it is absolutely amazing observing it actually work in the laboratory," he added.
As part of the Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub, this project has the funding by the UK government.
Addressing Quantum Computing Limitations
In making large-scale quantum computers, trapped-ion technology has been deemed most reliable. However, the creation of quantum gates in an ion-based architecture using radiation fields for millions of ions has been a mega challenge.
That is where the fundamentally different approach for trapped-ion quantum computing assumes significance.
The Sussex method uses controlled voltages on logic gate locations to trigger actual gate operations, similar to the transistor architecture in a classical computer processor.
According to the scientists, a quantum gate is a simple-to-implement tool usable in metrology, sensing and simulation.
Hensinger called the development "a game changer" and added that the new method would make quantum computing more accessible to industry and governments.
"We will construct a large-scale quantum computer at Sussex making full use of this exciting new technology," Hensinger added.