A key component of a sound-based quantum computer has been shown for the first time to work.
One common way to build quantum computers is to encode information into quantum states of light particles and send it through a maze of mirrors and lenses to manipulate that information. Andrew Cleland Doctors at the University of Chicago have tried to do the same with sound particles.
Sound is produced when a substance, such as an object or air, vibrates. We hear it as a continuous noise, but it’s actually a collection of tiny vibrating blobs called phonons, or sound particles.
“Thousands of atoms must move collectively to make a phonon, but in our experiments each is a single quantum object. Physicists see phonons as just a convenient way to think about sound.” It can sound like a trick, but it’s very real here,” says Cleland.
His team has built a chip-sized device with components made from perfectly conductive materials that can generate phonons one at a time and then transmit them to the rest of the device. The chip is stored in a powerful refrigerator at a temperature of 1/100 Kelvin so that photons exhibit quantum effects. The pitch of each phonon was approximately one million times the pitch of audible sound.
The researchers have built similar chips before, but this time A component called a beam splitter. This he consists of 16 small parallel aluminum strips designed so that sound striking them is reflected and transmitted in the same area. But when the researchers sent in a phonon, instead of splitting in two, the phonon assumed a quantum superposition state in which the whole particle simultaneously reflected and transmitted.
Cleland says this is exactly what they hoped would happen, as the process is a necessary step to perform computations on a quantum computer that relies on particles of light. To bring the chip even closer to a sound-based quantum computer, the researchers also studied how two particles of light typically “talk to each other” and how their behavior is controlled during light-based computation. Succeeded in reproducing what is done.
Here, they simultaneously sent two phonons into a beamsplitter from opposite directions and confirmed that their respective superposition states influence each other. In the future, we plan to use this procedure to implement simple operations that configure computer programs.
Dark Bowmeister A professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says that for light particles, procedures such as quantum teleportation and entanglement generation rely on the use of beamsplitters, and now could be done with sound particles as well. Says. “It’s really cool that the team was able to replace photons with phonons,” he says.
Because many different quantum objects interact with sound, future experiments say it is also possible to use phonons to transfer quantum information between different hard-to-connect components of a quantum computing chip. . Ewen Chu at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
For Cleland, building a sound-based quantum computer is more exciting than just another way to build devices that can finally solve problems that are currently unsolvable by classical computers. “I want to learn how much quantum physics can be done with mechanical objects. I’m here. This is amazing to me,” he says.