Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

android tablet pc

Home > Press > Project Success Stories - Congratulations, it's a quantum computer

Quantum physics is entering the computer age thanks to the work of a dedicated band of European researchers.

Project Success Stories - Congratulations, it's a quantum computer

EU | Posted on July 7th, 2010

It is not that simple of course. While microelectronic chips have continued to shrink in size, research into quantum computing - in which the active components often can be measured at the molecular level - is still in its infancy.

'This might provide breakthroughs in high-performance computing in 10 to 20 years,' says Göran Wendin, professor of theoretical physics at the Bionaro System Laboratory at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden. 'But most likely, it will provide a paradigm shift; looking back in 20 years, we will see how technology changed in ways that were difficult to anticipate.'

This research has been largely focused on what are known as ion trap quantum 'computers'. Ion traps are chains of up to ten ionised atoms, each of which can be made to behave like a two-level spin-half system, called a qubit. These qubits have the power to represent significantly more information than a bit in a classical computer, and could one day be used to perform certain types of calculations that classical computers can never do. And if large-scale quantum computers can be built, they will be able to solve certain problems much faster than any current classical computers.

But before we get carried away, it is important to recognise the limitations of current research: as Prof. Wendin points out, a ten-qubit computer is to quantum computing what a 1950s computer was to the dawning digital world. And there is a further difficulty: present ion traps are not scalable. In order to develop larger systems with 50-100 qubits, solid-state nanotechnology is needed to scale down the components and build microtraps in which ions can be stored.

Scaling down solid-state systems has therefore become a focus of current research in the development of quantum computing, and it is where the EU-funded 'European superconducting quantum information processor' (Eurosqip) project comes in. This project has pioneered the development of superconducting electronic circuits by using lithographically fabricated artificial atom qubits in superconducting nano- and microscale electronic circuits. Superconducting circuits have no resistance, and over the past decade it has become evident that these devices can be used as qubits.

'Eurosqip addresses long-term issues in micro-electronics and information technology," says professor Wendin, who co-ordinated the project.

Eurosqip, a four year initiative completed in April 2010, builds on the work achieved in two previous European projects: Squbit (2000-2003) and Squbit-2 (2003-2005). Many of the partners involved in Eurosqip worked previously on these projects, setting the groundwork for avenues of research that have been further developed in the current project.

Solid-state superconducting circuits have been in development for fundamental physics research since 1985, but according to Prof. Wendin, it was the breakthrough experiment conducted by Nakamura et al. in Tsukba, Japan in 1999 that really opened the door to quantum computing research, and to the impetus behind the Eurosqip programme. By designing and implementing simple yet functional hardware platforms, Eurosqip hopes to make a significant contribution in scaling up qubit systems in practical solid-state projects.

Quantum computing certainly opens up some interesting possibilities. For example, a quantum computer has the potential to be much more efficient in integer factorisation than an ordinary computer, which is capable of only factoring large integers if they are the product of few prime numbers. A quantum computer could therefore decrypt many of the cryptographic systems in use today, with implications for electronic security. Furthermore, quantum algorithms could lead to significantly faster query searches than is possible with classical algorithms in use today.

While working with solid-state systems opens the door to new possibilities, it also presents significant challenges. One of the greatest challenges is controlling or removing what is known as quantum decoherence; any interaction with the external world causes the system to decohere, an effect that is irreversible. This means that the system needs to be as isolated as possible from its environment, but at the same time open in order to allow programming and readout of information.

Controlling decoherence is the key. It is impossible to avoid some decoherence from both communication channels and imperfections in the materials used to fabricate the qubit register. There is no way around this; the only way to go is to continue to improve materials and find better means of controlling this.

'There are no revolutionising solutions in view, just very hard work long term to control the coherent properties of solid matter and solid-state devices,' says Prof. Wendin.

Basic funding for personnel and infrastructure for Eurosqip came from national programmes and was greatly boosted by EU funding from the previous 'Quantum information processing and computing' (QIPC, 2005-2009) programme. In the current QIPC programme, Eurosqip is being followed by a new project, also coordinated by Prof. Wendin, called SOLID.

Several Eurosqip / SOLID partners have also received prestigious European Research Council grants. SOLID, which runs until 2012, aims to broaden the perspective and include other types of solid-state qubits, such as quantum dots and impurity centres in diamonds, trying to build hybrid platforms based on microwave quantum electrodynamics, and providing links to quantum optics.

Research into quantum computing may have a long way to go, but progress is being made, with Europe very much to the fore.

Eurosqip received funding under the FET-Proactive scheme of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for research.


For more information, please click here

Copyright © CORDIS

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Introduces the MFP-3D InfinityTM AFM Featuring Powerful New Capabilities and Stunning High Performance April 18th, 2014

Conductive Inks: booming to $2.8 billion by 2024 April 17th, 2014


'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Novel stapled peptide nanoparticle combination prevents RSV infection, study finds April 17th, 2014

INSCX™ exchange to present Exchange trade reporting mechanism for engineered nanomaterials (NMs) to UK regulation agencies, insurers and upstream/downstream users April 17th, 2014

Possible Futures

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Surface Characteristics Influence Cellular Growth on Semiconductor Material March 12th, 2014

The "Tipping Point" February 12th, 2014


Director Wally Pfister joins UC Berkeley neuroengineers to discuss the science behind ‘Transcendence’ April 7th, 2014

First annual science week highlights STEM pipeline and partnerships: UB, SUNY Buffalo State and ECC team up with the City of Buffalo and its schools for April 7-11 events April 3rd, 2014

Global 450 consortium announces new general manager of internal operations: TSMC’s Cheng-Chung Chien Receives Unanimous Support, Brings History of Innovation and Efficiency to Global Consortium of Companies Driving Industry Transition to 450mm Wafer Technology March 26th, 2014

NanoTecNexus to Host "Chemistry of Wine" Fundraiser in Support of STEM Education - Collaborations Key to Success - March 20th, 2014

Quantum Computing

Quantum manipulation: Filling the gap between quantum and classical world April 14th, 2014

Rainbow-catching waveguide could revolutionize energy technologies: By slowing and absorbing certain wavelengths of light, engineers open new possibilities in solar power, thermal energy recycling and stealth technology March 28th, 2014

Could Diamonds Be A Computer’s Best Friend? Landmark experiment reveals the precious gem’s potential in computing March 24th, 2014

Waterloo, Technion Partner to Advance Research, Commercialization March 19th, 2014


'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair April 18th, 2014

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Introduces the MFP-3D InfinityTM AFM Featuring Powerful New Capabilities and Stunning High Performance April 18th, 2014

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

Quantum nanoscience

Quantum manipulation: Filling the gap between quantum and classical world April 14th, 2014

Scientists in Singapore develop novel ultra-fast electrical circuits using light-generated tunneling currents April 10th, 2014

Quantum Photon Properties Revealed in Another Particle—the Plasmon April 5th, 2014

Notre Dame researchers provide new insights into quantum dynamics and quantum chaos April 2nd, 2014

The latest news from around the world, FREE

  Premium Products
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More

Nanotechnology Now Featured Books


The Hunger Project

© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE