Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ultra-thin wires for quantum computing

Date:
June 17, 2014
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
Take a fine strand of silica fiber, attach it at each end to a slow-turning motor, torture it over a flame until it nearly reaches its melting point and then pull it apart. The middle will thin out like taffy until it is less than half a micron across, and that, according to researchers, is how you fabricate ultrahigh transmission optical nanofibers, a potential component for future quantum information devices.

This image depicts light propagating through an optical nanofiber during the pulling process with a SEM image of the 536 nanometer diameter waist.
Credit: J. E. Hoffman and E. Edwards / JQI at UMD

Take a fine strand of silica fiber, attach it at each end to a slow-turning motor, gently torture it over an unflickering flame until it just about reaches its melting point and then pull it apart. The middle will thin out like a piece of taffy until it is less than half a micron across -- about 200 times thinner than a human hair.

Related Articles


That, according to researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland, is how you fabricate ultrahigh transmission optical nanofibers, a potential component for future quantum information devices, which they describe in AIP Publishing's journal AIP Advances.

Quantum computers promise enormous power, but are notoriously tricky to build. To encode information in qubits, the fundamental units of a quantum computer, the bits must be held in a precarious position called a superposition of states. In this fragile condition the bits exist in all of their possible configurations at the same time, meaning they can perform multiple parallel calculations.

The tendency of qubits to lose their superposition state too quickly, a phenomenon known as decoherence, is a major obstacle to the further development of quantum computers and any device dependent on superpositions. To address this challenge, researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute proposed a hybrid quantum processor that uses trapped atoms as the memory and superconducting qubits as the processor, as atoms demonstrate relatively long superposition survival times and superconducting qubits perform operations quickly.

"The idea is that we can get the best of both worlds," said Jonathan Hoffman, a graduate student in the Joint Quantum Institute who works in the lab of principal investigators Steven Rolston and Luis Orozco. However, a problem is that superconductors don't like high optical power or magnetic fields and most atomic traps use both, Hoffman said.

This is where the optical nanofibers come in: The Joint Quantum Institute team realized that nanofibers could create optics-based, low-power atom traps that would "play nice" with superconductors. Because the diameter of the fibers is so minute -- 530 nanometers, less than the wavelength of light used to trap atoms -- some of the light leaks outside of the fiber as a so-called evanescent wave, which can be used to trap atoms a few hundred nanometers from the fiber surface.

Hoffman and his colleagues have worked on optical nanofiber atom traps for the past few years. Their AIP Advances paper describes a new procedure they developed that maximizes the efficiency of the traps through careful and precise fabrication methods.

The group's procedure, which yields an improvement of two orders of magnitude less transmission loss than previous work, focuses on intensive preparation and cleaning of the pre-pulling environment the nanofibers are created in.

In the fabrication process, the fiber is brushed through the flame to prevent the formation of air currents, which can cause inconsistencies in diameter to arise, as it is pulled apart and tapered down. The flame source is a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gas in a precise two-to-one ratio, to ensure that water vapor is the only byproduct. The motors are controlled by an algorithm based on the existing work of a group in Vienna, which calculates the trajectories of the motors to produce a fiber of the desired length and profile.

Previous pulling methods, such as carbon dioxide lasing and chemical etching, were limited by the laser's insufficient diameter and by a lesser degree of control over tapering length, respectively.

Future work includes interfacing the trapped atoms with the superconducting circuits held at 10 mKelvin in a dilution refrigerator, as well as guiding more complicated optical field patterns through the fiber (higher-order modes) and using these to trap atoms.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J.E. Hoffman, S. Ravets, J.A. Grover, P. Solano, P.R. Kordell, J.D. Wong-Campos, L.A. Orozco and S.L. Rolston. Ultrahigh transmission optical nanofibers. AIP Advances, June 17, 2014 DOI: 10.1063/1.4879799

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Ultra-thin wires for quantum computing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617111818.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2014, June 17). Ultra-thin wires for quantum computing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617111818.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Ultra-thin wires for quantum computing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617111818.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Predictions Of Tablets' Demise Sound Familiar

Predictions Of Tablets' Demise Sound Familiar

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The tablet's days are numbered, at least according to a recent IDC report. The market-research firm paints a grim outlook for tablets. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) T-Mobile and the FCC have reached an agreement requiring the company to alert customers when it throttles their data speeds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A Symantec white paper reveals details about Regin, a spying malware of unusual complexity which is believed to be state-sponsored. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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