A team of researchers from the University of Sussex's Ion Quantum Technology Group claims to have solved one of the major problems hindering the development of quantum computers.
The team, led by Professor Winfried Hensinger, says that the technique they have developed minimises the effects of environmental ‘noise' on the functioning of a large quantum computer.
Quantum computers were first theorized in 1980s and, since then, the concept has been developed slowly.
Quantum computers work in a fundamentally different manner than classical computers. Basic building blocks in quantum computers are qubits (quantum bits) that are described as the superpositions of '0' and '1' states. Qubits can exist in numerous states and are used to store information. As the number of qubits in a quantum computer increase, the possibilities also increase exponentially.
However, for proper functioning of quantum computers, qubits must remain ‘entangled' with each other; that is to say, one qubit should promptly affect another qubit, even if they are physically separated. It has been a big challenge for scientists to produce qubits satisfying such conditions.
Current experimental quantum computers contain only a handful of qubits. Any attempt to add more qubits in a quantum computer makes it more difficult to insulate the computer from environmental 'noise' that would disturb the computing processes.
But the Sussex researchers claim that they have found developed a technique that can mitigate some of these problems. Based on a theory proposed by theoretical scientist Dr Florian Mintert from Imperial College London, it entails manipulating the quantum effects inside a quantum computer.
It suggests that quantum computations must be executed in such a manner that alterations in initial operational parameters of the computer do not produce a major change in computation's end result. In this way, a computer can be isolated from environmental ‘noise' impact.
Sussex researchers implemented this theory using microwave technology, which is commonly used in mobile phones. The team was able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new method in substantially minimizing the "noise" effect on a trapped ion quantum computer.
The detailed findings of the study are published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
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