By William Wang
A recent study led by doctorate students at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering demonstrated that a semiconducting material common in classical electronics can reliably transfer and store information from one quantum device to another.
Like normal computers, quantum computers rely on quantum bits (qubits) to store information. Unlike normal bits, which can store only one state (0 or 1) at a time, qubits can store either state at the same time.
To send qubits across physical space, quantum computers use solid-state single photon emitters. Until recently, experimental quantum computers relied heavily on nitrogen-vacancy (N-V) centers in diamonds for communication between quantum nodes. According to the researchers, in addition to being expensive, diamonds are difficult to mold into quantum devices.
Bourassa worked with Chris Anderson, a former National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) fellow and scientist at the Pritzker School. Anderson demonstrated that the same task could be accomplished by defects in silicon carbide: a cheaper, easier to manipulate, and more robust alternative to diamond. Both Bourassa and Anderson are affiliated with the Awschalom Group, which specializes in implementations of quantum information.