The new molecule is a hybrid, with the naturally occurring arsenic at one end in a normal spherical shape and a new, artificial atom at the other end in a flattened, 2-D shape. By controlling the voltage, the researchers found that they could make an electron go to either end of the molecule or exist in an intermediate, quantum, state.
“Our experiment made us realize that industrial electronic devices have now reached the level where we can study and manipulate the state of a single atom,” Rogge says. “This is the ultimate limit, you can not get smaller than that.”
Physicist Lloyd Hollenberg and colleagues at the University of Melbourne in Australia were able to construct a theoretical silicon-based quantum computer chip based on the concept of using an individual impurity.
“The team found that the measurements only made sense if the molecule was considered to be made of two parts,” Hollenberg says. “One end comprised the arsenic atom embedded in the silicon, while the ‘artificial’ end of the molecule forms near the silicon surface of the transistor. A single electron was spread across both ends.
“What is strange about the ‘surface’ end of the molecule is that it occurs as an artifact when we apply electrical current across the transistor and hence can be considered ‘manmade.’ We have no equivalent form existing naturally in the world around us.”
Klimeck, along with graduate student Rajib Rahman, developed an updated version of the nano-electronics modeling program NEMO 3-D to simulate the material at the size of 3 million atoms.
In a Nature Physics journal paper currently online, the researchers describe how they have created a new, hybrid molecule in which its quantum state can be intentionally manipulated – a required step in the building of quantum computers.
“Up to now large-scale quantum computing has been a dream,” says Gerhard Klimeck, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University and associate director for technology for the national Network for Computational Nanotechnology.
“This development may not bring us a quantum computer 10 years faster, but our dreams about these machines are now more realistic.”
Fault tolerant Trapped ion quantum gate
Ion traps are among the most promising physical systems for constructing a quantum device harnessing the computing power inherent in the laws of quantum physics. For the implementation of arbitrary operations, a quantum computer requires a universal set of quantum logic gates. As in classical models of computation, quantum error correction techniques enable rectification of small imperfections in gate operations, thus enabling perfect computation in the presence of noise. For fault-tolerant computation, it is believed that error thresholds ranging between 10**-4 and 10**-2 will be required—depending on the noise model and the computational overhead for realizing the quantum gates—but so far all experimental implementations have fallen short of these requirements. Here, we report on a Mølmer–Sørensen-type gate operation entangling ions with a fidelity of 99.3(1)%. The gate is carried out on a pair of qubits encoded in two trapped calcium ions using an amplitude-modulated laser beam interacting with both ions at the same time. A robust gate operation, mapping separable states onto maximally entangled states is achieved by adiabatically switching the laser–ion coupling on and off. We analyse the performance of a single gate and concatenations of up to 21 gate operations.
Unprecedented control over the superposition of electronic states of a ‘quantum corral’, by changing the position of a single atom within it, provides a powerful tool for studying the quantum behaviour of matter. Quantum corral are discussed in creating quantum mirages
The ultimate miniaturization of electronic devices will probably require local and coherent control of single electronic wavefunctions. Wavefunctions exist within both physical real space and an abstract state space with a simple geometric interpretation: this state space—or Hilbert space—is spanned by mutually orthogonal state vectors corresponding to the quantized degrees of freedom of the real-space system. Measurement of superpositions is akin to accessing the direction of a vector in Hilbert space, determining an angle of rotation equivalent to quantum phase. Here, we show that an individual atom inside a designed quantum corral1 can control this angle, producing arbitrary coherent superpositions of spatial quantum states. Using scanning tunnelling microscopy and nanostructures assembled atom-by-atom2, we demonstrate how single spins and quantum mirages3 can be harnessed to image the superposition of two electronic states. We also present a straightforward method to determine the atom path enacting phase rotations between any desired state vectors. A single atom thus becomes a real-space handle for an abstract Hilbert space, providing a simple technique for coherent quantum-state manipulation at the spatial limit of condensed matter.
Publications of Jan Benhelm