Nav: Home

Improving quantum computers

April 17, 2019

For decades, experts have predicted that quantum computers will someday perform difficult tasks, such as simulating complex chemical systems, that can't be done by conventional computers. But so far, these machines haven't lived up to their potential because of error-prone hardware. That's why scientists are working to improve the qubit -- the basic hardware element of quantum computers, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

Regular computers use bits to store data, which are represented as a "1" to indicate current flowing through a transistor or a "0" for no current. In contrast, qubits have a superposition of energy states -- 0, 1, or many places in between, which theoretically allows quantum computers to store and process much more information than a conventional computer. However, today's qubits are fragile and highly prone to errors caused by environmental factors such as vibrations or temperature changes, Senior Correspondent Katherine Bourzac writes.

So far, scientists have proposed about 20 qubit designs, and there's no clear winner. However, today's leading technologies are based on superconducting circuits (which include an insulator sandwiched by metals that become superconductors at extremely low temperatures) and trapped ions (charged atoms suspended in a vacuum by electromagnetic fields). Researchers are working on better manufacturing processes and control equipment for these technologies. But they're also exploring new materials for quantum computing, such as silicon spin devices and topological materials, that might reduce noise and error, allowing quantum computers to finally realize their potential.
-end-
The article, "To upgrade quantum computers, researchers look to materials science," is freely available here.

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook

American Chemical Society

Related Quantum Computers Articles:

Study takes step toward mass-producible quantum computers
Study takes step toward mass-producible quantum computers.
Testing quantum field theory in a quantum simulator
Quantum field theories are often hard to verify in experiments.
Refrigerator for quantum computers discovered
Researchers at Aalto University have invented a quantum-circuit refrigerator, which can reduce errors in quantum computing.
New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers
First 3-D quantum liquid crystals may have applications in quantum computing.
'Virtual' interferometers may overcome scale issues for optical quantum computers
A team of researchers from RMIT, the University of Sydney and UTS have devised an entirely new way of implementing large-scale interferometers that will dramatically miniaturize optical processing circuitry.
Further improvement of qubit lifetime for quantum computers
An international team of scientists has succeeded in making further improvements to the lifetime of superconducting quantum circuits.
Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified
Scientists at the University of Sussex have invented a ground-breaking new method that puts the construction of large-scale quantum computers within reach of current technology.
New quantum states for better quantum memories
How can quantum information be stored as long as possible?
A new class of materials could realize quantum computers
Scientists at EPFL and PSI have discovered a new class of materials that can prove ideal for the implementation of spintronics.
New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

Related Quantum Computers Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...