First Scalable Monolithic 3D Ion Trap FabricatedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: July 25, 2012 11:38AM
Researchers around the world are working to create fully functional quantum computers but this work is fairly difficult. Part of the challenge is finding a way to make the required components, including ion traps. These traps are what hold ion-based qubits together, and researchers at the National Physical Laboratory have successfully designed the first monolithic 3D ion trap that is scalable.
The ions contained within the traps can be used as qubits within a quantum computer. Qubits, like electronic bits, convey information throughout a quantum computer, but the amount of information a qubit can store increases exponentially as more particles are added. A scalable ion trap is capable of exploiting this as it can be scaled up to hold more and more ions. Already the team was able to hold 14 ions in the trap, without sacrificing the ability to control each ion individually.
Perhaps equal in importance to the capabilities of the trap is how it was manufactured. Using a process similar to those used already in the semiconductor industry, the ion trap was made from a silica-on-silicon wafer. This will definitely help ongoing research into quantum computers based on ion qubits by providing a reasonably efficient means to produce this critical component.