&Bullet; physics 14, p73
A trapped ion quantum computer that fits in two boxes, each the size of a studio shower, can create a fully entangled quantum state with 24 particles.
Quantum computer prototypes are beginning to surpass the computational capabilities of classic computers. In order to achieve a real quantum advantage, these prototypes with a few qubits must be scaled to hundreds of qubits, which will be difficult with the current, laboratory-filling hardware. In a step towards accessible and scalable technology, Ivan Pogorelov from the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and colleagues have manufactured a compact quantum computer processor that fits into two industry-standard server racks, each 1.7 inches in volume
 . The processor is comparable to similar versions on a laboratory scale and could ultimately lead to a device of up to 50 qubit that could be operated by trained laypeople.
The team’s design uses optical qubits that encode quantum information in two electronic states of calcium ions. Information is exchanged between ions and laser pulses manipulate the states of the ions and create entanglement.
The processor relies on macroscopic electric field traps to control strings of up to 50 ions. The system is housed in a series of sturdy aluminum boxes, the so-called modules, which are stacked on top of each other in two 19-inch-wide server racks. The modules of the “optical” rack contain devices for generating and controlling laser light as well as for directing and switching light. The modules of the “Trap” rack contain the main ion trap, electrical components for manipulating the qubits in the ions, and components for communication and remote control. The team demonstrated an ion trap device with a fully entangled “24 qubit GHz” state, the largest fully entangled state ever achieved in a system.
The new design has easily replaceable parts and requires minimal maintenance, the team says. Cloud access can also be activated for testing algorithms with a quantum computer language.
Rachel Berkowitz is Corresponding Editor for physics based in Vancouver, Canada.
- I. Pogorelov et al., “Compact ion trap quantum computing demonstrator”, PRX quantum2, 020343 (2021).