Sunday, December 23, 2007

Quantum Computers superconducting circuit

artificial atom superconducting circuitOptical micrograph showing an "artificial atom" made with a superconducting circuit. The red arrow points to the heart of the qubit -- the Josephson junction device that might be used in a future quantum computer to represent a 1, 0, or both values at once.

Credit: Ray Simmonds/NIST High Resolution Image

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If they can be built, quantum computers—relying on the rules of quantum mechanics, nature’s instruction book for the smallest particles of matter—someday might be used for applications such as fast and efficient code breaking, optimizing complex systems such as airline schedules, much faster database searching and solving of complex mathematical problems, and even the development of novel products such as fraud-proof digital signatures.

Superconducting circuits are one of a number of possible technologies for storing and processing data in quantum computers that are being investigated for producing qubits at NIST, UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara) and elsewhere around the world. Research using real atoms as qubits has advanced more rapidly thus far, but superconducting circuits offer the advantage of being easily manufactured, easily connected to each other, easily connected to existing integrated circuit technology, and mass producible using semiconductor fabrication techniques. A single superconducting qubit is about the width of a human hair. Two qubits can be fabricated on a single silicon microchip, which sits in a shielded box about 1 cubic inch in size. Scientists Entice Superconducting Devices To Act Like Pairs of Atoms

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