Ancient Namibian Gemstone Holds Key to Future Quantum Computers


Cuprous oxide – the mined crystal from Namibia used for making Rydberg polaritons. Credit score: College of St Andrews

A particular type of gentle made utilizing an historic Namibian gemstone might be the important thing to new light-based quantum computer systems, which may resolve long-held scientific mysteries, in accordance to new analysis led by the College of St Andrews.

The analysis, performed in collaboration with scientists at Harvard College within the US, Macquarie College in Australia, and Aarhus College in Denmark and printed in Nature Supplies, used a naturally mined cuprous oxide (Cu2O) gemstone from Namibia to produce Rydberg polaritons, the biggest hybrid particles of sunshine and matter ever created.

Rydberg polaritons change frequently from gentle to matter and again once more. In Rydberg polaritons, gentle and matter are like two sides of a coin, and the matter aspect is what makes polaritons work together with one another.

This interplay is essential as a result of that is what permits the creation of quantum simulators, a particular kind of quantum pc, the place data is saved in quantum bits. These quantum bits, in contrast to the binary bits in classical computer systems that may solely be 0 or 1, can take any worth between 0 and 1. They will subsequently retailer far more data and carry out a number of processes concurrently.

This functionality may permit quantum simulators to resolve vital mysteries of physics, chemistry and biology, for instance, how to make high-temperature superconductors for highspeed trains, how cheaper fertilizers might be made doubtlessly fixing world starvation, or how proteins fold making it simpler to produce simpler medication.

Undertaking lead Dr. Hamid Ohadi, of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy on the College of St Andrews, mentioned: “Making a quantum simulator with light is the holy grail of science. We have taken a huge leap towards this by creating Rydberg polaritons, the key ingredient of it.”

To create Rydberg polaritons, the researchers trapped gentle between two extremely reflective mirrors. A cuprous oxide crystal from a stone mined in Namibia was then thinned and polished to a 30-micrometer thick slab (thinner than a strand of human hair) and sandwiched between the 2 mirrors to make Rydberg polaritons 100 occasions bigger than ever demonstrated earlier than.

One of many main authors Dr. Sai Kiran Rajendran, of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy on the College of St Andrews, mentioned: “Purchasing the stone on eBay was easy. The challenge was to make Rydberg polaritons that exist in an extremely narrow color range.”

The group is at present additional refining these strategies so as to discover the potential of making quantum circuits, that are the subsequent ingredient for quantum simulators.

Reference: “Rydberg exciton–polaritons in a Cu2O microcavity” by Konstantinos Orfanakis, Sai Kiran Rajendran, Valentin Walther, Thomas Volz, Thomas Pohl and Hamid Ohadi, 14 April 2022, Nature Supplies.
DOI: 10.1038/s41563-022-01230-4

The analysis was funded by UK Engineering and Bodily Sciences Analysis Council (EPSRC).





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