Technology.am (June 29, 2009) — Yale University researchers have created the first rudimentary solid-state quantum processor, a step closer to building a quantum computer.
They also used the two-qubit processor that is the first solid-state quantum processor which resembles a conventional computer chip and is able to run simple algorithms.
They manufactured two artificial atoms, or qubits (“quantum bits”). While each qubit is actually made up of a billion aluminum atoms, it acts like a single atom that can occupy two different energy states. These states are akin to the “1” and “0” or “on” and “off” states of regular bits employed by conventional computers.
Because of the counterintuitive laws of quantum mechanics, however, scientists can effectively place qubits in a “superposition” of multiple states at the same time, allowing for greater information storage and processing power.
For example, imagine having four phone numbers, including one for a friend, but not knowing which number belonged to that friend. You would typically have to try two to three numbers before you dialed the right one. A quantum processor, on the other hand, can find the right number in only one try.
“Instead of having to place a phone call to one number, then another number, you use quantum mechanics to speed up the process,”
While the first qubits of a decade ago were able to maintain specific quantum states for about a nanosecond, Schoelkopf and his team are now able to maintain theirs for a microsecond—a thousand times longer, which is enough to run the simple algorithms.
To perform their operations, the qubits communicate with one another using a “quantum bus”—photons that transmit information through wires connecting the qubits.