Quantum computing is a key part of modern advances in technology allowing supercomputers to provide computing solutions millions of times faster than what could be done by humans manually. The challenge to achieve “fault-tolerant” quantum computing capabilities is currently being tackled by a unique collaboration of researchers from two prestigious schools, Tsinghua University in China and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) from Berkley, California. Research is being conducted in segment of Berkley’s Lab called the Advanced Light Source (ALS).
The ALS facility is a section in the D.O.E. at Berkley which specializes in synchrotron radiation. The process works by using a series of ultraviolet light beams along with superconductive materials which are internally insolated but allows conductivity on the surface. Using high-temperature superconductivity creates a particle known as “Majorana zero mode” which is what will allow researchers to achieve a state of fault-tolerant quantum computing. One of the primary materials used in this system is “bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide” or BSCCO for short. One researcher by the name of Alexei Fedorov at ALS stated that this is the first instance of using high-temperature superconductivity with ultraviolet light beams on a topological surface.
Publications regarding the research conducted at ALS are published in the Nature Physics journal by multiple authors including Shoyun Zhou, Xi Chen, Hao Ding and Eryin Want from Tsinghua University in China. Despite the myriad benefits that can be achieved from quantum computing a major flaw is present which can hinder the processing of quantum data (also referred to as “qubit”). The qubit which stores information and manages the processing can be disturbed by activity with electrons and other environmental elements surrounding the qubit. The new method of applying topological insulators in the quantum computer looks to be a viable solution to resolving this issue by ensuring immunity to decoherence with the qubit.
Further studies conducted independently out of the London Centre for Nanotechnology and the University of British Columbia show that a relatively common substance, copper phthalocyanin (CuPc), may be a cost effective solution for a semiconductor in quantum computers. CuPc is currently used in the £5 bill to create a blue pigment as a counterfeiting security precaution. Although it is used simply as a blue dye, CuPc has been found to be much more effective for semiconducting because of a peculiar property it exhibits where an electron can remain in a superposition (the electron can remain in two states simultaneously) for an extended period of time compared to other compounds used.
By examining the decay of an electron’s superposition a determination can be made regarding the effectiveness of a substance for the use of quantum computing. Quantum computing differs from general computing in that binary bits (0s and 1s) are organized in groups called qubits which need to be precisely controlled on during computations. The superposition state is the essential part of qubit computation which increases the speed at which a quantum computer can process information. Increased length in the superposition state helps to ensure that quantum data is stored, transmitted and processed properly.
The CuPc compound has a number of advantages that make it more suitable than other substances for its application in quantum computing. In addition to the extended superposition states of electrons (which is based off their charge) the manner in which electrons spin also helps when applied in quantum computing. Its blue pigment as well is effective in absorbing visible light while also making it relatively simple to modify its physical and chemical properties thus allowing greater control of its electromagnetic properties.
Research into the application of copper phthalocyanine has been authored by Marc Warner from the London Centre for Nanotechnology. His teams’ findings could help produce more effective quantum computing at a cheaper cost in the near future. Dr. Warner theorizes that building an effective quantum computer could help solve calculations that would take classical computers a lifespan greater than that of our solar system and possibly even our universe to complete. Scientists involved in complex studies in physics and astronomy seek to gain the greatest benefits from this technology which can help us understand aspects of physics once thought nearly impossible to compute.Tags: computers, quantum physics