Computing breakthrough could elevate security to unprecedented levels

Aug 16, 2007

By using pulses of light to dramatically accelerate quantum computers, University of Michigan researchers have made strides in technology that could foil national and personal security threats.

It's a leap, they say, that could lead to tougher protections of information and quicker deciphering of hackers' encryption codes.

A new paper on the results of this research, "Coherent Optical Spectroscopy of a Strongly Driven Quantum Dot," appears in the Aug. 17 issue of Science. Duncan Steel, the Robert J. Hiller Professor at Michigan Engineering's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Physics, is one of the lead authors of the paper. Faculty from the University of California-San Diego and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., also contributed.

The researchers used short, coherent pulses of light to create light-matter interactions in quantum dots---particles so small that the addition or deletion of electrons changes their properties. They found they could control the frequency and phase shifts in the optical network, which is crucial in powering an optically driven quantum computer, Steel said.

Optically driven quantum computers can crack highly encrypted codes in seconds. The fastest of today's desktop computers would require 20 years.

Part of what makes quantum computers so fast is that they are multitask masters.

"Quantum computers are capable of massive parallel computations," Steel said. "That's why these machines are so fast."

And the technology the researchers used to power them in this study is relatively cheap.

"We're particularly excited about our findings because they show that we can achieve these results by using quantum dots and readily available, relatively inexpensive optical telecommunications technology to drive quantum computers," Steel said. "Quantum dots replace transistors in these computers, and our results show that it only takes a few billionths of a watt to drive it."

U-M researchers are using quantum dot systems to pave the way for numerous quantum level applications, such as quantum dot dressed state lasers, optical modulators and quantum logic devices.

This discovery in quantum dot spectroscopy is an important stepping stone to building a quantum computer for the future. Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between light and matter.

Source: University of Michigan

Explore further: The unifying framework of symmetry reveals properties of a broad range of physical systems

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tiny graphene drum could form future quantum memory

Aug 28, 2014

Scientists from TU Delft's Kavli Institute of Nanoscience have demonstrated that they can detect extremely small changes in position and forces on very small drums of graphene. Graphene drums have great potential ...

Calculating conditions at the birth of the universe

Aug 26, 2014

(Phys.org) —Using a calculation originally proposed seven years ago to be performed on a petaflop computer, Lawrence Livermore researchers computed conditions that simulate the birth of the universe.

Recommended for you

What time is it in the universe?

20 hours ago

Flavor Flav knows what time it is. At least he does for Flavor Flav. Even with all his moving and accelerating, with the planet, the solar system, getting on planes, taking elevators, and perhaps even some ...

Watching the structure of glass under pressure

Aug 28, 2014

Glass has many applications that call for different properties, such as resistance to thermal shock or to chemically harsh environments. Glassmakers commonly use additives such as boron oxide to tweak these ...

Inter-dependent networks stress test

Aug 28, 2014

Energy production systems are good examples of complex systems. Their infrastructure equipment requires ancillary sub-systems structured like a network—including water for cooling, transport to supply fuel, and ICT systems ...

Explainer: How does our sun shine?

Aug 28, 2014

What makes our sun shine has been a mystery for most of human history. Given our sun is a star and stars are suns, explaining the source of the sun's energy would help us understand why stars shine. ...

User comments : 0