Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One step closer to a quantum computer

Date:
April 30, 2013
Source:
Linköping Universitet
Summary:
Scientists have succeeded in both initializing and reading nuclear spins, relevant to qubits for quantum computers, at room temperature.

Professor Weimin Chen and his colleagues at Linköping University, in cooperation with German and American researchers, have succeeded in both initializing and reading nuclear spins, relevant to qubits for quantum computers, at room temperature.

The results have just been published in the journal Nature Communications.

A quantum computer is controlled by the laws of quantum physics; it promises to perform complicated calculations, or search large amounts of data, at a speed that exceeds by far those that today's fastest supercomputers are capable of.

"You could say that a quantum computer can think several thoughts simultaneously, while a traditional computer thinks one thought at a time," says Weimin Chen, professor in the Division of Functional Electronic Materials at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at LiU, and one of the main authors of the article in Nature Communications.

A traditional computer stores, processes and sends all information in the form of bits, which can have a value of 1 or 0. But in the world of quantum physics, at the nano- and atomic level, other rules prevail and a bit in a quantum computer -- a qubit -- can have any value between 1 and 0. A spin-based qubit makes use of the fact that electrons and atomic nuclei rotate around their own axes -- they have a spin. They can rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise (equivalent to 1 and 0), and in both directions simultaneously (a mix of 1 and 0) -- something that is completely unthinkable in the traditional, "classical" world.

An atomic nucleus consists of both protons and neutrons, and the advantage of using the nuclear spin as a qubit is that the nucleus is well protected, and nearly impervious to unwanted electromagnetic disturbance, which is a condition for keeping the sensitive information in the qubit intact.

The first step in building a quantum computer is to assign each qubit a well-defined value, either 1 or 0. Starting, or initiating, the spin-based qubits then requires all the atomic nuclei to spin in the same direction, either 'up' or 'down' (clockwise or counterclockwise). The most common method for polarising nuclear spin is called dynamic nuclear polarisation; this means that the electrons' spin simply influences the nucleus to spin in the same direction. The method requires strongly spin polarised electrons and functions superbly at lower temperatures. Dynamic nuclear polarisation via conduction electrons has, however, not yet been demonstrated at room temperature -- which is crucial for the method to be useful in practice for the development of quantum computers. The main problem is that the spin orientation in the electrons can easily be lost at room temperature, since it is sensitive to disruptions from its surroundings.

Linköping University researchers Yuttapoom Puttisong, Xingjun Wang, Irina Buyanova and Weimin Chen, together with their German and American colleagues, have now discovered a way of getting around this problem.

Back in 2009, Chen and his research group presented a spin filter that works at room temperature; the filter lets through electrons that have the desired spin direction and screens out the others.

With the help of the spin filter, they have now succeeded in producing a flow of free electrons with a given spin in a material -- in this case GaNAs (gallium nitrogen arsenide). The spin polarisation is so strong that it creates a strong polarisation of the nuclear spin in extra Ga atoms that are added as defects in the material -- and this takes place at room temperature. This is the first time that strong nuclear spin polarisation of a defect atom in a solid is demonstrated at room temperature by spin-polarised conduction electrons.

"We prove experimentally that the measurable magnetic field from the nuclei, as well as the strong polarisation of the nuclear spins in the material at room temperature, comes from the dynamic polarisation of the nuclear spin in the extra added Ga atoms," says Chen.

The researchers have also shown that the polarisation of the nuclear spin happens very quickly -- potentially in less than a nanosecond (one-billionth of a second).

The method proposed also has the advantage of making use of free electrons. This makes it possible to control the polarisation of the spin in the nucleus electrically; in this way the information lying in the spin can both be initiated and read.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Linköping Universitet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Puttisong, X.J. Wang, I.A. Buyanova, L. Geelhaar, H. Riechert, A.J. Ptak, C.W. Tu, W.M. Chen. Efficient room-temperature nuclear spin hyperpolarization of a defect atom in a semiconductor. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1751 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2776

Cite This Page:

Linköping Universitet. "One step closer to a quantum computer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430092420.htm>.
Linköping Universitet. (2013, April 30). One step closer to a quantum computer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430092420.htm
Linköping Universitet. "One step closer to a quantum computer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430092420.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) — When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins