New Breakthrough In Heat Transport Could Open the Door For Quantum Computers

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

New Breakthrough In Heat Transport Could Open the Door For Quantum Computers


Quantum Physics

Scientists have unraveled a new method of heat conduction that improves earlier attempts by ten thousand times. The invention could be a major step in the creation of super-cooled quantum computers.


Scientists at Aalto University, Finland, have succeeded in transporting heat maximally effectively ten thousand times further than ever before. The discovery may lead to a giant leap in the development of quantum computers.

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Heat conduction is a fundamental physical phenomenon utilized in clothing, housing, car industry, and electronics. The research group, led by quantum physicist Mikko Möttönen has now made one of these groundbreaking discoveries. This new invention revolutionizes quantum-limited heat conduction which means as efficient heat transport as possible from point A to point B.

"This work establishes the integration of normal-metal components into the framework of circuit quantum electrodynamics which provides a basis for the superconducting quantum computer," write the authors of the study, which was recently published in the journal, Nature Physics.

Quantum technology is still a developing research field, but its most promising application is the super-efficient quantum computer. In the future, it can solve problems that a normal computer would never be able to solve. The efficient operation of a quantum computer requires that it can be cooled down efficiently. At the same time, a quantum computer is prone to errors due to external noise.

Möttönen's invention could be applied to cooling quantum processors very efficiently and so cleverly that the operation of the computer is not disturbed.  To see the importance of cooling for quantum computers, consider the steps that D-Wave has to take with its machines.

"Our research started already in 2011 and advanced little by little. It feels really great to achieve a fundamental scientific discovery that has real practical applications", says Möttönen.

In the QCD Labs in Finland, Möttönen's research group succeeded in measuring quantum-limited heat transport over distances up to a meter. A meter doesn't sound very long at first, but previously scientists have been able to measure such heat transport only up to distances comparable to the thickness of a human hair.

"For computer processors, a meter is an extremely long distance. Nobody wants to build a larger processor than that", stresses Möttönen.

The team came up with the idea to use a transmission line with no electrical resistance to transport photons. A superconducting line was built on a silicon chip with the size of a square centimeter. Tiny resistors were placed at the ends of the transmission line. The research results were obtained by measuring induced changes in the temperatures of these resistors.

New Breakthrough In Heat Transport Could Open the Door For Quantum Computers

"For computer processors, a meter is an extremely long distance. Nobody wants to build a larger processor than that."
Although in previous experiments quantum-limited heat transport has been observed for lattice vibrations, or phonons, electrons, and electromagnetic fluctuations, the achieved distances have been very short compared to our macroscopic world. "We used microwave photons flying in a superconducting transmission line as the heat carriers. Photons are generally know to be good heat carriers over long distances," explains Möttönen.

The Quantum Computing and Devices (QCD) group led by Möttönen was able to show that quantum-limited heat conduction is possible over long distances. The result enables the application of this phenomenon outside laboratories. Essentially, the device built by the team fundamentally changes how heat conduction can be utilized in practice.



SOURCE  Phys Org


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