Dynamic Duo in Quantum Computing: Ion Trap Meets Single-Photon Detector

Dynamic Duo in Quantum Computing: Ion Trap Meets Single-Photon Detector ...

Researchers have developed a quantum computing system that includes an ion trap and a single-photon detector. This NIST innovation has been published in Applied Physics Letters.

A quantum computing system that includes a combined ion trap and single-photon detector has been developed. It overcomes previous difficulties in tracking multiple ions for increased processing power while using an aluminum barrier.

We're working on the techniques to detect ions and see them glow (or not).

The art-deco-like device shown here is a combined trap for ions (charged atoms) and detector for individual photons (particles of light). Depending on its quantum state, the ion will either glow and emit photons, or it will remain hidden.

We will not go through this process for a 50/50 chance at a light show.

The possibilities for glow-or-no-glow for ions have a significant impact on computing's future. These two quantum states may be assigned values, comparable to the 0s and 1s in classical computers.

The best practice so far has been to use a large, custom-built microscope lens and a heavy single-photon detector to detect whether a trapped ion glows or not. When a quantum computing system needs to keep track of many ions at the same time (for additional processing power), the image may be blurred.

NIST researchers have a possibility, as well as have made it much more plausible.

Our combined ion trap/single-photon detector eliminates the need for additional heavy equipment and maintains the possibility for a clear view of all the ions in the system.

Unlike previous iterations, the trap relied on high voltages on its electrodes to keep ions in place, while the detector was much more sensitive and preferred an environment without large electrical signals.

Our team has now created an ion trap that has an aluminum barrier around the detector's bottom. The detector can maintain its integrity because to high voltages.

Benedikt Hampel, Daniel H. Slichter, Richard P. Mirin, Sae Woo Nam, and Varun B. Verma, Applied Physics Letters, DOI: 10.1063/5.0145077.

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