Making Next Generation Quantum Computers Even More Powerful


Three resonators operating at different frequencies read a 3×3 matrix of quantum dots. Credits: © Harald Homulle 2022 EPFL

EPFL engineers have developed a way to read multiple qubits, the smallest unit of quantum data, at the same time. Their method paves the way for a new generation of even more powerful quantum computers.

“IBM and Google currently have the most powerful quantum computers in the world,” says Professor Edoardo Charbon, head of the Advanced Quantum Architecture Institute (AQUA Lab) in EPFL’s Faculty of Engineering. “IBM has just announced a 127 qubit machine, but Google’s machine has 53 qubits.” However, the maximum number of qubits limits the speed at which quantum computers can be further accelerated. However, a team of engineers led by Charbon have just worked with British researchers to develop a promising way to break this technical barrier. Their approach can read qubits more efficiently. That is, more qubits can be packed into the quantum processor.Their findings are Nature Electronics..

Biochemistry and cryptography

Quantum computers don’t work like the computers we’re used to. Instead of using separate processors and memory chips, the two are combined into a single unit called a qubit. These computers use quantum properties such as superposition and entanglement to perform complex calculations that ordinary computers cannot perform in a reasonable time frame. Potential applications of quantum computers include biochemistry and cryptography. The machines used by the research group today have about 12 qubits.

“Our current challenge is to interconnect more qubits to quantum processors to increase the processing power of computers. We are talking about hundreds and even thousands.” Says Charbon.

The number of qubits is currently limited by the fact that technology that can quickly read all qubits is not yet available. “More complicatedly, qubits operate at temperatures close to absolute temperature, Or –273.15o oC “says Charbon. “It makes them even more difficult to read and control. What engineers usually do is use the machine at room temperature and control each qubit individually.”

“It’s a real breakthrough”

Andrea Ruffino, a PhD student in Charbon’s lab, has developed a method that can effectively read nine qubits at the same time. In addition, his approach can be scaled up to a larger qubit matrix. “Our method is based on the use of the time and frequency domains,” he explains. “The basic idea is to reduce the number of connections by making the three cubits work in a single bond.”

EPFL doesn’t have a quantum computer, but Ruffino still didn’t stop. He found a way to emulate a qubit and perform an experiment under almost the same conditions as a quantum computer. “We incorporated quantum dots, nanometer-sized semiconductor particles, into a transistor, which gave me something that works like a qubit,” says Ruffino.

He is the first PhD student at AQUA Lab to study this topic for his dissertation. “Andrea has shown that his method works in integrated circuits on ordinary computer chips at temperatures close to qubits,” says Charbon. “This is a true breakthrough that can lead to a system of large qubit matrices integrated with the required electronics. Two types of technology are easy, effective, and reproducible. You can work together. “

Reference: “Cryo CMOS Chips that Integrate Silicon Quantum Dots and Multiple Distributed Read Electronics”, Andrea Ruffino, Tsung-Yeh Yang, John Michniewicz, Yatao Peng, Edoardo Charbon, Miguel Fernando Gonzalez-Zalba, December 27, 2021 Nature Electronics..
DOI: 10.1038 / s41928-021-00687-6

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