Posted in | Quantum Computing

Efforts Ongoing to Enhance Qubits to Optimize Quantum Computers

For many years, scientists have speculated that someday, quantum computers will carry out challenging tasks like simulating complex chemical systems, which cannot be performed by traditional computers.

However, to date, these machines have not fulfilled their potential due to hardware that is error-prone. Therefore, researchers are striving to enhance the qubit––the basic hardware element of quantum computers, based on an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

In conventional computers, data are stored as bits, represented as a “1” to signify the flow of current through a transistor or a “0” for no current. On the other hand, qubits have a superposition of energy states––0, 1—or several places in between, theoretically enabling quantum computers to store and process considerably more information when compared to regular computers.

According to Senior Correspondent Katherine Bourzac, existing qubits are delicate and increasingly prone to errors resulting from environmental factors like temperature changes or vibrations.

To date, researchers have come up with nearly 20 qubit designs, out of which not even one is a clear winner. But, leading technologies that exist today are based on superconducting circuits (including an insulator interspersed by metals that act as superconductors at very low temperatures) and trapped ions (charged atoms suspended in vacuum by electromagnetic fields).

Scientists are making efforts to develop optimized manufacturing processes and control equipment for these technologies. In addition, they are also investigating new materials for quantum computing, for example, topological materials and silicon spin devices, that might minimize error and noise, thereby enabling quantum computers to eventually achieve their potential.

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