David Kirkpatrick

July 8, 2010

Latest on quantum computing

There’s been a mini-flurry of quantum computing news of late, and here’s the latest. Even though quantum computing news is both fun and interesting it’s best to keep in mind we are nowhere close to actually building anything the average person would consider a quantum computer. The payoff for all this research and development, however, is worth the effort and certainly worth keeping track of.

From the second link:

One of the more interesting runners in the race to build scalable quantum computers is the idea of using point-like defects in a diamond lattice that have been filled with a nitrogen atom. The nitrogen interloper provides an extra electron which can be used to generate photons or to store quantum information.

The big advantage of these so-called nitrogen vacancies is that they’re easy to see (because they can be made to emit photons) which means they can be relatively easily addressed. They are also well isolated from many types of environmental interference and so can store qubits for relatively long periods of up to several hundred microseconds.

But the problem is how to make them en masse. Until now, the fastest way was to fire nitrogen atoms one by one through an aperture into a thin layer of diamond. That makes for slow going if you need hundreds of thousands of them in a single layer.

Now David Toyli at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and few buddies have demonstrated a much faster technique. Their approach is to cover the diamond with a thin layer of resist, through which they then blast an array of holes using electron beam lithography.

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