Improving quantum computers

quantum computer
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

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 such as vibrations or , 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 for , such as silicon spin devices and topological materials, that might reduce noise and error, allowing quantum computers to finally realize their potential.


Explore further

A faster method to read quantum memory

More information: To upgrade quantum computers, researchers look to materials science, cen.acs.org/materials/electron … earchers-look/97/i15
Citation: Improving quantum computers (2019, April 17) retrieved 26 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-quantum.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
14 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more