Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Toward a Quantum Computer, One Dot at a Time

Abstract:
Pitt researchers develop nanoscale semiconductor islands small enough to hold single electrons

Toward a Quantum Computer, One Dot at a Time

Posted on January 19, 2006

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have developed a way to create semiconductor islands smaller than 10 nanometers in scale, known as quantum dots. The islands, made from germanium and placed on the surface of silicon with two-nanometer precision, are capable of confining single electrons.

“We believe this development moves us closer to our goal of constructing a quantum computer,” said Jeremy Levy, Pitt professor of physics and astronomy and director of the Pittsburgh-based Center for Oxide-Semiconductor Materials for Quantum Computation. Levy and colleagues reported on the advance in a paper published in October 2005 in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

Quantum computers do not yet exist, but it is known that they can bypass all known encryption schemes used today on the Internet. Quantum computers also are capable of efficiently solving the most important equation in quantum physics: the Schrödinger equation, which describes the time-dependence of quantum mechanical systems. Hence, if quantum computers can be built, they likely will have as large an impact on technology as the transistor.

Electrons have a property known as “spin,” which can take one of two directions-clockwise and counter-clockwise. Because of their quantum-mechanical nature, electrons can spin in both directions at once. That bizarre property allows the spin to be used as a “quantum bit” in a quantum computer. The ability to confine individual electrons, as opposed to “puddles” of electrons used in conventional computer technology, is essential for the working of a quantum computer.

The next step, said Levy, is to perform electronic and optical measurements on these materials to prove that there is indeed one electron on each quantum dot and to probe the coupling between the spins of neighbor electrons. “We can do that now because we have this control over the spacing and the size,” he said.

The results achieved by Levy and colleagues are an example of “essentially nano” research, which involves manipulating properties at the smallest scales-from one to 20 nanometers.

Pitt has invested heavily in nanoscale research, beginning with the establishment of its Institute for NanoScience and Engineering (INSE), and continuing with the NanoScale Fabrication and Characterization Facility, which contains core technology such as electron-beam lithography, transmission electron microscopes, and a state-of-the-art cleanroom environment. The INSE is an integrated, multidisciplinary organization that brings coherence to the University's research efforts and resources in the fields of nanoscale science and engineering. For more information, visit www.nano.pitt.edu.

Other researchers on the study were John T. Yates Jr., R.K. Mellon Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Pitt; former Pitt chemistry graduate student Olivier Guise; Joachim Ahner of Pittsburgh-based Seagate Technology; and Venugopalan Vaithyanathan and Darrell G. Schlom of Pennsylvania State University.

This research was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Quantum Information Science and Technology Program.

####
Contact:
Karen Hoffmann
412-624-4356
klh52@pitt.edu

Copyright © University of Pittsburgh

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.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Possible Futures

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

International research team uses wavefunction matching to solve quantum many-body problems: New approach makes calculations with realistic interactions possible May 17th, 2024

Aston University researcher receives £1 million grant to revolutionize miniature optical devices May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Quantum Computing

Simulating magnetization in a Heisenberg quantum spin chain April 5th, 2024

Discovery points path to flash-like memory for storing qubits: Rice find could hasten development of nonvolatile quantum memory April 5th, 2024

With VECSELs towards the quantum internet Fraunhofer: IAF achieves record output power with VECSEL for quantum frequency converters April 5th, 2024

Chemical reactions can scramble quantum information as well as black holes April 5th, 2024

Announcements

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project