Princeton University professor Jason Petta has developed a technique that can control the properties of a lone electron, a feat that is essential to the development of quantum computers with near-limitless capabilities. Petta's method achieves control of single electrons extremely rapidly, in one-billionth of a second, another feature that is crucial to developing new quantum computers. These controlled electrons will most likely form the foundation of a quantum computer's processing components, which are called qubits. A qubit based on the spin of an electron could have nearly limitless potential because it can neither be strictly on nor strictly off.
"Petta and coworkers demonstrate a new method that utilizes the nuclear spins for performing fast quantum operations," says German University of Konstantz's Guido Burkard.
The qubits are cooled to temperatures near absolute zero and trapped in two tiny corrals called quantum wells, which are on the surface of a high-purity, gallium arsenide chip. "Our approach is really to look at the building blocks of the system, to think deeply about what the limitations are and what we can do to overcome them," Petta says.
From Princeton University
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