Harnessing Spin Through Sound to Power Quantum Computing
Quantum state of single electrons controlled by ‘surfing’ on sound waves
Excerpts and salient points ~
+ Researchers have successfully used sound waves to control quantum information in a single electron, a significant step towards efficient, robust quantum computers made from semiconductors. The international team, including researchers from the University of Cambridge, sent high-frequency sound waves across a modified semiconductor device to direct the behaviour of a single electron, with efficiencies in excess of 99%. The results are reported in the journal Nature Communications (“Sound-driven single-electron transfer in a circuit of coupled quantum rails”).
“Harnessing spin to power a functioning quantum computer is a more scalable approach than using superconductivity, and we believe that using spin could lead to a quantum computer which is far more robust, since spin interactions are set by the laws of nature,” said Lepage.
+ The researchers were able to control the behaviour of a single electron with 99.5% efficiency. “To control a single electron in this way is already difficult, but to get to a point where we can have a working quantum computer, we need to be able to control multiple electrons, which get exponentially more difficult as the qubits start to interact with each other,” said Lepage.
+ The device, which was tested experimentally by Lepage’s co-authors from the Institut Néel, measures just a few millionths of a metre long. The researchers laid metallic gates over a semiconductor and applied a voltage, which generated a complex electric field. The researchers then directed high-frequency sound waves over the device, causing it to vibrate and distort, like a tiny earthquake. As the sound waves propagate, they trap the electrons, pushing them through the device in a very precise way, as if the electrons are ‘surfing’ on the sound waves.
Content may have been edited for style and clarity.