Sydney team develops microcircuit based on Nobel Prize research
Invention of the microwave circulator is part of a revolution in device engineering needed to build a large-scale quantum computer.
A team at the University of Sydney and Microsoft, in collaboration with Stanford University in the US, has miniaturised a component that is essential for the scale-up of quantum computing. The work constitutes the first practical application of a new phase of matter, first discovered in 2006, the so-called topological insulators.
Beyond the familiar phases of matter – solid, liquid, or gas – topological insulators are materials that operate as insulators in the bulk of their structures but have surfaces that act as conductors. Manipulation of these materials provide a pathway to construct the circuitry needed for the interaction between quantum and classical systems, vital for building a practical quantum computer.
Theoretical work underpinning the discovery of this new phase of matter was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics.
The Sydney team’s component, coined a microwave circulator, acts like a traffic roundabout, ensuring that electrical signals only propagate in one direction, clockwise or anti-clockwise, as required. Similar devices are found in mobile phone base-stations and radar systems, and will be required in large quantities in the construction of quantum computers. A major limitation, until now, is that typical circulators are bulky objects the size of your hand.
This invention, reported by the Sydney team today in the journal Nature Communications, represents the miniaturisation of the common circulator device by a factor of 1000. This has been done by exploiting the properties of topological insulators to slow the speed of light in the material. This minaturisation paves the way for many circulators to be integrated on a chip and manufactured in the large quantities that will be needed to build quantum computers.
The leader of the Sydney team, Professor David Reilly, explained that the work to scale-up quantum computing is driving breakthroughs in related areas of electronics and nanoscience.
“It is not just about qubits, the fundamental building blocks for quantum machines. Building a large-scale quantum computer will also need a revolution in classical computing and device engineering,” Professor Reilly said.
“Even if we had millions of qubits today, it is not clear that we have the classical technology to control them. Realising a scaled-up quantum computer will require the invention of new devices and techniques at the quantum-classical interface.”
Lead author of the paper and PhD candidate Alice Mahoney said: “Such compact circulators could be implemented in a variety of quantum hardware platforms, irrespective of the particular quantum system used.”
A practical quantum computer is still some years away. Scientists expect to be able to carry out currently unsolveable computations with quantum computers that will have applications in fields such as chemistry and drug design, climate and economic modelling, and cryptography.
The Latest on: Large-scale quantum computer
- Transforming quantum computing’s promise into practiceon January 18, 2021 at 9:17 pm
MIT electrical engineer William D. Oliver develops the fundamental technology to enable reliable quantum computers at scale. His work could help vastly improve how computers process information and ...
- Securing the DNS in a Post-Quantum World: New DNSSEC Algorithms on the Horizonon January 18, 2021 at 4:00 pm
One of the "key" questions cryptographers have been asking for the past decade or more is what to do about the potential future development of a large-scale quantum computer. If theory holds, a ...
- Danish group launches €3 million quantum communication projecton January 18, 2021 at 12:14 pm
CryptQ is a newly-announced Danish consortium, which is aiming to develop a cost-effective quantum-secured communication system over the next three years. Innovation Fund Denmark has invested €3 ...
- ‘Lattice surgery’ entangles fault-tolerant topological qubitson January 13, 2021 at 4:00 pm
large-scale quantum computation. In principle, quantum computers can quickly solve certain problems that would take an eternity to compute on even the most powerful conventional computer. While this ...
- The Quantum Computer Revolution Must Include Womenon January 13, 2021 at 5:33 am
Physics is still dominated by men, which means we’re largely missing out on the talents of half the population ...
- You can find a $180K solar-powered car, qubit controls, and breathing tips at the NL Tech Pavilion at CES 2021on January 12, 2021 at 5:32 am
The Netherlands Pavilion includes a quantum computing cohort this year with ... country's five major quantum research hubs, strengthening large-scale facilities across the country for nanotech ...
- Chinese Researchers Demonstrate World’s Largest Stable Quantum Communication Networkon January 11, 2021 at 12:32 am
Quantum communication uses photons to securely distribute a “secret key” to allow the exchange of encrypted messages.
- 10 trends predicted to shape 2021’s tech industryon January 10, 2021 at 8:16 pm
Alibaba’s DAMO Academy, the global research initiative by Alibaba Group, provides its forecast of the top 10 leading trends that will shape the tech industry in the year ahead. 1. The application of ...
- Alibaba DAMO Academy's top 10 trends for 2021, from 'post-quantum-supremacy', to brain computer interfaces, AI R&D acceleration and moreon January 10, 2021 at 5:32 pm
Alibaba's global research initiative has compiled its must-read forecast of the fascinating leading trends that will shape the tech industry in the year ahead. From the application of third-generation ...
- China Creates World’s First Integrated Quantum Network Stretching For Thousands Of Kilometerson January 7, 2021 at 8:28 am
Quantum computing holds the promise to revolutionize ... quantum communication technology is sufficiently mature for large-scale practical applications,” a statement on the study says.
via Google News and Bing News