April 23, 2024

The Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Aatoms has collaborated with other universities to develop a particular quantum computer that can operate with 256 quantum bits (or “qubits”).

This system is a significant step towards building large-scale quantum computers that can be used to shed light upon a variety of complex quantum processes. It could also bring real-world breakthroughs and innovations in material science, communication technology, finance, and many more fields. The fundamental building blocks of quantum computers and the source of their enormous processing power are called Qubits. “We are now entering a new area of the quantum world.”

Sepehr Ebadi is a graduate student in physics at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the study’s lead author. Sepehr believes that the system’s extraordinary size and programmability make it a leading contender for a quantum computing device. This technology harnesses the mysterious properties of small-scale matter to increase processing power dramatically. The system can store and process more information under conditions than standard computers.

Ebadi stated that “the number of quantum states possible with only 256 qubits exceeds atoms in our solar system,” explaining the system’s vastness.

The simulator has allowed researchers to observe many exotic quantum states and matter, which were not experimentally possible. It also enabled them to conduct a quantum phase transition study that is so accurate that it is a textbook example of how magnetic force works at the quantum level.

These experiments can provide valuable insights into the quantum physics that underlies material properties. They can also help scientists design exotic materials.

This project utilizes a substantially upgraded version of the platform developed in 2017. It can reach a size of 51 qubits. Researchers used the older system to capture ultra-cold Rubidium atoms and arrange them in a particular order using an array of laser beams called optical telescopes.

The new system allows atoms to be assembled using two-dimensional optical tweezers. This allows for a system to be increased from 51 to 256 qubits. Researchers can use tweezers to arrange the atoms in a defect-free pattern and create programmable shapes such as square, honeycomb, or triangular lattices that allow for different interactions between qubits.

Ebadi stated that the spatial light modulator is the heart of this platform. It creates an optical wavefront and produces hundreds of individual-focused optical tweezer beams. These devices work in the same way as a computer projector, but they are essential components of our quantum simulator.

Researchers must arrange the atoms in the desired geometries by moving them around after the initial loading of the particles into optical tweezers. Researchers use a second pair of moving optical tweezers to move the atoms to the desired locations. This eliminates the initial randomness. Researchers have complete control over how the atomic qubits are placed and the coherent quantum manipulation.

Harvard Professors Subir Sachdev, Markus Greiner, and Vladan Vuletic from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were also involved in the study. They worked with scientists from Stanford, California Berkeley, Innsbruck, Austria, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and QuEra Computing Inc., Boston.

Tout Wang, a Harvard research associate in Physics and one of the paper’s authors, stated that “our work is part of an intense, high-visibility, global race to build larger and better quantum computers.” “The effort is not just ours. It involves top research institutions and significant private sector investment from Google, IBM, and Amazon.

Researchers are working on improving the system’s laser control and programming capabilities. The researchers are actively investigating how the system could be used to solve real-world problems. This includes probing unusual forms of quantum matter and solving complex real-world problems that can naturally be encoded on qubits.

Ebadi stated, “this work allows a vast amount of new scientific directions.” “We are not even close to the limit of what we can do with these systems.”

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