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Superconducting Qubit Array Points the Way to Quantum Computers

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The five cross-shaped devices are the Xmon variant of the transmon qubit placed in a linear array.

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, say they have found a new level of reliability in a five-qubit array.

Credit: Erik Lucero

University of California, Santa Barbara researchers say they have demonstrated a new level of reliability in a five-qubit array, moving one step closer to making a quantum computer a reality.

The researchers say the unique configuration of the array results from the flexibility of geometry at the superconductive level, which enabled them to create cross-shaped qubits they named Xmons.

Superconductivity results when certain materials are cooled to a critical level that eliminates electrical resistance and magnetic fields. The researchers opted to place five Xmons in a single row, with each qubit communicating with its nearest neighbor, which proved to be a simple but effective arrangement. "Motivated by theoretical work, we started really thinking seriously about what we had to do to move forward," says Santa Barbara professor John Martinis. "It took us a while to figure out how simple it was, and simple, in the end, was really the best."

He notes their design relied on surface code that provided an architecture to put the qubits together in a certain way. "It took a lot of hard work to figure out how to piece the qubits together and control them properly," Martinis says.

From The UC Santa Barbara Current
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