New Building Blocks Designed for Quantum Computers

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Researchers at University of Twente designed a new technique and created a nanowire that allows single electrons to be captured by quantum dot, which allows superconductivity.

A group of quantum scientists collaborated to develop a unique building block design for quantum computers out of germanium and silicon nanowires. The work was published in the science journal Advanced Materials on September 13, 2018.

Previous research work focused on creating fundamental building blocks for quantum computers, but could not derive a clear result on the type of material that would produce the best components. Quantum computers need completely different set of building blocks than a standard computer, whose properties are only exhibited at a scale of few nanometers.

The group of researchers from University of Twente and Technical Universities of Delft and Eindhoven, came up with a new and interesting fundamental building block for quantum computers. Using elements such as germanium and silicon, they developed a set of nanowires. These nanowires were capable of capturing individual electrons by creating ‘holes’ that signified absence of electrons. The electrons were captured in a quantum dot that allowed superconductivity, enabling electricity to move through the nanowires without any resistance.

Majorana fermions developed upon combining quantum dot and superconductivity. Majorana fermions are exotic particles, which forms its own antiparticle that are their own antiparticle and are often regarded as an important component in the quantum computers of the future. The materials, germanium core and silicon shell were identified for the first time to create nanowires with quantum dots, and it aids in quantum properties due its well-defined structure.

Joost Ridderbos, the lead researcher of the study says: “I can’t say whether this is the material that will ultimately be used in quantum computers; I don’t have a crystal ball. What I can say is that this is an ideal material for doing fundamental research that is relevant to the development of quantum computers. It’s the perfect material for investigating the best route towards this computer.”

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