Science

Scientists create quantum states in everyday electronics

Since the time of the huge and bulky computers when they were introduced, it has ever since seen miniaturization like never seen before, with the everyday smartphones boasting of more processing power than the computers used by tech giants like NASA and IBM back then.

Now electronics is going to see the next level of miniaturization where it’s pushing its limits into the quantum realm, and with this the advent of the field of quantum information technology.

Quantum technology is putated to be too delicate and incompatible with the everyday electronics that we use however scientists see this as an opportunity to break new grounds as something that’s not proscribed in quantum mechanics has a probability to get realized physically.

Scientists at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering did just the same and announced that they were able to integrate quantum states with electronic devices made from Silicon Carbide.

Lead investigator in the study, David Awschalom, the Liew professor in Molecular engineering at the University of Chicago has noted that this ability to integrate quantum bits into electronic devices is a surprise and that this could have practical applications in the future.

The two papers that the group submitted to the Science and Science Advances elucidates how they were able to control the quantum states electrically which could provide an alternative to the exotic materials that’s currently being used in experiments like superconducting metals, diamonds or levitating atoms using laser.

Scientists also reported that these quantum states have an added peculiarity that it can emit photons in the frequency range of the telecommunications band that we currently use and hence it can be used in long distance transmission of information through fiber optic networks.

The team was also able to create something called the “quantum radio”, which exploits the additional properties that these photons can gain when combined with the existing electronics, Awschalom added in the paper, which can then be transmitted over extremely long distances.

Graduate student Kevin Miao, first author on the paper mentioned that in order to design these systems which could be dirigible, it should be pristine and free from impurities which smart designing and engineering could address.

Chris Anderson, a co-author on the paper mentioned that they were able to address a major issue in electronics that rely on semiconductors: impurities. They found that they were able to assuage this effect by using a diode, which restricts the movement of electrons to one direction, and by doing that they found that the system was free of noise and was stable as well.

Alexandre Bourassa, another co-first author has mentioned that they had to use lasers in their experiments, which can change the configuration the electrons however once an electrical field is applied, the electrons are removed and the system becomes much more stable.

Awchalom has reported that by integrating quantum mechanics into classical semiconductor devices, they are at the precipice of quantum information revolution. These systems can store and transmit information across the world, which can usher in a new era of quantum internet and communication channels that would prove insuperable to hack.

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