Scientists at University of Waterloo Develop Flexible Ion Qubit Control System

Researchers at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) in Canada have made significant progress in the field of quantum computing. They have developed a robust method to reliably control individual qubits, which are the building blocks of quantum computers.

Unlike classical computers that use bits to store and manipulate information, quantum computers rely on qubits to perform calculations. However, existing quantum computers face challenges, as each qubit must be in a superposition of two different energy states.

The new method developed by the scientists at the University of Waterloo uses laser light and a glass waveguide to control individual qubits made of barium. The laser beams are focused four microns apart, allowing precise control of each focused laser beam on its target qubit. This method minimizes crosstalk, the interference between neighboring ions, to a very small relative intensity of 0.01%, which is considered among the best in the quantum community.

The flexibility and precision of this new ion qubit control system surpasses previous methods. It enables communication with individual ions without affecting neighboring ions and provides maximum control over each qubit. This breakthrough opens doors to the development of functional quantum computers in the future.

Barium ions are increasingly being used in trapped ion quantum computation due to their convenient energy states, which can be used as the zero and one levels of a qubit. Manipulation of these qubits is done using visible green light, unlike other atom types that require higher energy ultraviolet light. This allows the researchers to utilize commercially available optical technologies that are not available for ultraviolet wavelengths.

The research team, led by Dr. Rajibul Islam, published their findings in the IOP Science journal. Their work is part of a larger effort at the University of Waterloo to build barium ion quantum processors using atomic systems.

Quantum computing advancements have far-reaching implications for various fields, including chemistry. Recent breakthroughs include the observation of quantum superchemistry at the University of Chicago and the use of a quantum computer to solve simple chemistry problems in Sweden.

– University of Waterloo
– IOP Science journal