In DepthQUANTUM COMPUTING

Atomic arrays power quantum computers

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Science  28 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6409, pp. 1300-1301
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6409.1300

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Summary

Quantum computers manipulate qubits, which can encode zeroes and ones simultaneously. In theory, the devices could vastly outperform conventional computers at certain tasks. But in the race to build a practical quantum computer, investment has largely gone to qubits built on silicon, such as superconducting circuits and quantum dots. Now, two recent studies have demonstrated the promise of neutral atom qubits. In one study, a quantum logic gate made of two neutral atoms was shown to work with far fewer errors than ever before. And in another, researchers built 3D structures of carefully arranged atoms, showing that more qubits can be packed into a small space by taking advantage of the third dimension. The advances, along with the arrival of venture capital funding, suggest neutral atoms could be on the upswing as a dark horse qubit candidate.

  • * Sophia Chen is a journalist in Tucson, Arizona.