Scientists pumped with new quantum computing potential

Quantum computing pump image
This figure schematically describes how two quantum states

This figure schematically describes how two quantum states, i.e. the quantum dot level and a parasitic trap level, can be in competition for the capture of electrons, as discussed in the recently published Nano Letters article. This allows the observation of a new frequency-dependent quantum effect in this single-electron pump system.

A University of Adelaide-led global research team has developed a ground-breaking single-electron ‘pump’ that moves the world one step closer to reliable, high-performance quantum computing.

The new electron pump device can produce one billion electrons per second and uses quantum mechanics to control them one-by-one. And it’s so precise, that researchers have been able to use this device to measure the limitations of current electronics equipment.

This paves the way for future quantum information processing applications, including in defence, cybersecurity and encryption, and big data analysis.

“This research puts us one step closer to the holy grail - reliable, high-performance quantum computing,” says project leader Dr Giuseppe C. Tettamanzi of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing and School of Physical Sciences.

Published in the journal Nano Letters, the researchers also report observations of electron behaviour that’s never been seen before – a key finding for those around the world working on quantum computing.

“Quantum computing, or more broadly quantum information processing, will allow us to solve problems that just won’t be possible under classical computing systems,” says Dr Tettamanzi.

“It operates at a scale that’s close to an atom and, at this scale, normal physics goes out the window and quantum mechanics comes into play.

“To indicate its potential computational power, conventional computing works on instructions and data written in a series of 1s and 0s – think about it as a series of on and off switches; in quantum computing every possible value between 0 and 1 is available. We can then increase exponentially the number of calculations that can be done simultaneously.”

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Quantum computing pump animation

This animation schematically describes how a single-electron pump can be used to generate ultra-high precise currents by controlling electrons one-by-one in semiconductors nanostructures.

Tagged in Research, School of Physical Sciences, Physics, Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing - IPAS