The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a toggle switch that allows qubits, the driving force behind quantum computing, to be tracked. The breakthrough is a major boost to improving the technology’s usefulness in our daily lives.
The device consists of two superconducting quantum bits, or “qubits,” that are roughly analogous to a standard computer processing chip, and a toggle switch that connects these to a “readout resonator.”
This is intended to reduce what is known in the quantum industry as “noise,” a factor that routinely upsets scientists’ ability to make calculations and therefore clearly demonstrate results of the computer technology.
Obviously, this is quite a serious no-no in any kind of science, and therefore reduction of noise is regarded as a major achievement in making quantum computing a daily reality in human life.
When that happens, scientists believe that the new form of computing will be able to perform certain specific tasks at a far more effective rate than ordinary computers, leading to breakthroughs in energy, healthcare, and other fields of research.
NIST says the toggle switch can be flipped into different states to adjust the strength of the connections between the qubits and the readout resonator. When switched off, all three elements are isolated from each other, but when it is turned on it connects two qubits and allows them to interact and perform calculations. Once the calculations are complete, the toggle switch can connect either of the qubits to the readout resonator to retrieve the results.
“The goal is to keep the qubits happy so that they can calculate without distractions, while still being able to read them out when we want to,” said NIST physicist Ray Simmonds. “This device architecture helps protect the qubits and promises to improve our ability to make the high-fidelity measurements required to build quantum information processors out of qubits.”
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