A Quantum Leap for Quantum Computing

Advanced Quantum Computer Concept

For quantum computers to be truly powerful they need to be scalable.

UC Riverside will lead collaborative effort at developing scalable quantum computers.

The University of California, Riverside, has won a University of California Multicampus-National Lab Collaborative Research and Training Award of $3.75 million that will allow the campus to focus on enabling scalable quantum computing.

Quantum computers are expected to greatly outperform the most powerful conventional computers on certain tasks, such as modeling complex chemical processes, finding large prime numbers, and designing new molecules that have applications in medicine.

These computers store quantum information in the form of quantum bits, or qubits — quantum systems that can exist in two different states. For quantum computers to be truly powerful, however, they need to be “scalable,” meaning they must be able to scale up to include many more qubits, making it possible to solve some challenging problems.

Boerge Hemmerling

Boerge Hemmerling is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside. Credit: UC Riverside

“The goal of this collaborative project is to establish a novel platform for quantum computing that is truly scalable up to many qubits,” said Boerge Hemmerling, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside and the lead principal investigator of the three-year project. “Current quantum computing technology is far away from experimentally controlling the large number of qubits required for fault-tolerant computing. This stands in large contrast to what has been achieved in conventional computer chips in classical computing.”

Hemmerling’s research team will use completely new technology for the project, such as 3D-printing technology from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, or LLNL, to make microstructure ion traps. Ions, which are charged atomic particles, store qubits. Quantum information is transferred when the ions move in a specially designed trap. Trapped ions are deemed to have the best potential for realizing quantum computing.

UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC Santa Barbara will also take part with UCR serving as project coordinator. UC Berkeley will demonstrate high-fidelity quantum gates with the ion traps; UCLA will develop and test fiber optics integration with the traps; UC Santa Barbara will test the traps in cryogenic environments and demonstrate shuttling of ion strings; and facilities at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will be used to characterize and develop materials. UCR will demonstrate simplified cooling schemes and explore the possibility of trapping electrons with these traps.

“We have a unique opportunity here to join various groups within the UC system and combine their expertise to make something bigger than a single group could achieve,” Hemmerling said.

The award to UCR is an outcome of the 2020 University of California Laboratory Fees Research Program competition. Six proposals, totaling more than $21 million over three years, were awarded in three targeted areas of research that leverage UC-national lab synergy: accelerator research, quantum information science, and wildfire-related research.

“We anticipate that the microstructure 3D-printed ion traps will outperform ion traps that have been used to date in terms of the storage time of the ions and ability to maintain and manipulate quantum information,” Hemmerling said. “Most importantly, our envisioned structures will be scalable in that we plan to build arrays of interconnected traps, similar to the very successful conventional computer chip design. We hope to establish these novel 3D-printed traps as a standard laboratory tool for quantum computing with major improvements over currently used technology.”

Hemmerling said the research project should bring scientists closer to realizing a scalable quantum computer.

“Many quantum computing approaches, while very promising, still have fallen short of providing a scalable platform that carries out useful calculations,” he said. “If we want to build a machine that does something useful, we need to consider new routes. This is one possible new route.”

9 Comments on "A Quantum Leap for Quantum Computing"

  1. Frosted Flake | May 31, 2021 at 3:57 pm | Reply

    It would be a lot easier to focus on the topic de jour if there were a placeholder (an arrow) to indicate where the explanation for folk who have no idea what the topic is is finally over and the interesting bit actuqally starts.

    I know, I’m supposed to skim through it for the thousandth time and find the beginning of the actual article myself. But, why? Why don’t you just point? If you had, I would have read what you wanted to say. Instead, my eyes glazed over. And I no longer recall the headline at the top of the page. Because i do not suffer fools gladly. I learned this crap 40 years ago.

    You claim to have something new but instead want to tell me how we got here. From the Stone Age. How about instead you tell me when you DONE telling me how we got here and are finally ready to tell me where we are going from here? I’m only asking because I have to.

  2. You might also include a little bow to SHOOT the arrow to the right place. Just an idea.

  3. That is a pure response.
    More new info required on all recent science articles.

  4. Yes, what Frosted flake said, but more nicely. Please highlight main points and lead directly there. Less is more.

  5. ^what frosted flake said. If I have to read one more variation of “a quantum computer uses entangled particles to make ‘qubits'” one more f&@#$ time I’m going to puke and not puke simultaneously.

  6. Thomas j O'Donnell III | June 5, 2021 at 8:56 am | Reply

    I think we should take environmental scientists,who can take water tests of the Maryland inner harbor & Chesapeake bay,& think how to purfy the water, let alone,for all over the US,& allies & Globe. Including for clean air.knowing how to neutralize pollution is key & then purfy. This could motivate pharmaceutical companies to make psychiatric drugs without detrimental sexual side effects. To quickly purfy their overpriced drugs. To solidify our Cyber security from obvious enemies. Where we can keep US companies, academic institutions, military networks, government agencies networks secure, personal networks secure. Medical advances as well. This is why you never make fun of Nerds,geeks,or any other smart individual, because they our backbone of keeping us alive & defended with continuous improvements.that we need as a whole/Nation. Without them,we wouldn’t last long. And God Bless the Parents who inspired then to be their very best. Their good hearts & leadership is the other backbone. That allows us to have those talents working for us.these teams should have government personal protection. China & Russia are going to try to Cyber espionage this. Extreme Cyber security is needed.these have to be top secrets. Other Cyber protections for this,have to be discussed by other people. I am excited for these new improvements. Quantum computing will take us several levels up. excitement is on the way.thank God for our gifted professors & other gifted Individual’s. Their Ambitions save us 🇺🇸.

  7. Joseph Malone | June 6, 2021 at 10:24 pm | Reply

    They are touting 3d printed components as the new breakthrough, meh. China seems to be making big strides in developing scalable quantum computing so maybe the California reseachers are hoping to leap frog the international competition with novel ideas. It has not been proven scalable its just theoretical at this point. Maybe they has math to back up several undeveloped ideas or just want to use pet technology because “its fun”. Whatever the case reading the entire article takes 3 minutes and understandably the authors want to rehash key ideas like what qubits are for people who need review.The article was mostly fluff so its a teaser of what they are working on and not the gory guts. This is an infotainment site. If you want the bleeding edge of quantum research its better to do several google searches and find more info on what top researchers are doing in depth.

  8. I want a quantum smartphone! lol

  9. Yeah Frosted Flake is on point, although I can really appreciate how the articles here are short and on point.

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