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A Peculiar State of Matter in Layers of Semiconductors Could Advance Quantum Computing

The setup for the milli-electronvolt inelastic X-ray scattering that probes the many-body localization in the disordered superlattice system.

New research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests a way to protect the states of quantum bits (qubits) using a phenomenon called many-body localization.

Credit: Mingda Li et al

Scientists around the world are developing new hardware for quantum computers, a new type of device that could accelerate drug design, financial modeling, and weather prediction. These computers rely on qubits, bits of matter that can represent some combination of 1 and 0 simultaneously. The problem is that qubits are fickle, degrading into regular bits when interactions with surrounding matter interfere. But new research at MIT suggests a way to protect their states, using a phenomenon called many-body localization (MBL).

MBL is a peculiar phase of matter, proposed decades ago, that is unlike solid or liquid. Typically, matter comes to thermal equilibrium with its environment. That's why soup cools and ice cubes melt. But in MBL, an object consisting of many strongly interacting bodies, such as atoms, never reaches such equilibrium. Heat, like sound, consists of collective atomic vibrations and can travel in waves; an object always has such heat waves internally. But when there's enough disorder and enough interaction in the way its atoms are arranged, the waves can become trapped, thus preventing the object from reaching equilibrium.

From SciTechDaily
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