Engineers have created a platform that will allow quantum computers to work at room temperature
When will quantum computers become reality? By Andrew Doherty, CTO of PsiQuantum
Researchers have developed new a hardware platform based on hexagonal boron nitride, a semiconductor material one atom thick, in which electrons are captured by structural defects, which allows their spin to be measured and used as qubits.
For work quantum computers need special hardware that allows access, measure and manipulate individual quantum states. but existing options require very low temperatures. An alternative is an system based on diamonds with defects in the crystal structure, but in three-dimensional materials it is difficult to accurately control the state of the spins.
Therefore, a group of engineers from the University of Pennsylvania and researchers from the Australian National University was working on the search for two-dimensional material, which the would act as a flat analogue of a diamond. Initially, it can be assumed that it should be graphene, which also is made up of carbon atoms, but it behaves like a metal, not a semiconductor. Therefore, scientists went through the database of available 2D materials and found that hexagonal boron nitride, which is widely used as a dielectric layer in two-dimensional electronics, has the necessary structure and characteristics of a semiconductor..
It was previously known that the material contains defects in the honeycomb lattice, which may emit light. However, the researchers found that under the influence of a magnetic field in some of these defects, the radiation intensity changes. The magnet controls the rotation, and it determines the number of photons emitted. This the signal is potentially use as a qubit.
This material feature is also will allow to create new sensitive sensors, with help which can will be measure the structure and internal dynamics of individual molecules. for instance, at the study of chemical reactions and protein folding.
Despite the analysis of defects, scientists it was not possible to establish why some have spin-dependent optical properties, and others not. Therefore, in the future, they plan to determine their key differences in order to learn how to recreate them..
Earlier, physicists from the Canadian University of Alberta improved another component computer of the future. They developed a new way of storing sensitive quantum information encoded in pulses of light.