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First tunable, 'noiseless' amplifier may boost quantum computing, communications
Date:10/15/2008

ns systems providing unbreakable encryption. It also offers the related and useful capability to squeeze microwave fields, trading reduced noise in the signal phase for increased noise in the signal amplitude. By combining two squeezed entities, scientists can entangle them, linking their properties in predictable ways that are useful in quantum computing and communications. Entanglement of microwave signals, as opposed to optical signals, offer some practical advantages in computing and communication such as relatively simple equipment requirements, Lehnert says.

The new amplifier is a 5-millimeter-long niobium cavity lined with 480 magnetic sensors called SQUIDs (superconducting quantum interference devices). The line of SQUIDs acts like a metamaterial, a structure not found in nature that has strange effects on electromagnetic energy. Microwaves ricochet back and forth inside the cavity like a skateboarder on a ramp. Scientists tune the wave velocity by manipulating the magnetic fields in the SQUIDs and the intensity of the microwaves. An injection of an intense pump tone at a particular frequency, like a skateboarder jumping at particular times to boost speed and height on a ramp, causes the microwave power to oscillate at twice the pump frequency. Only the portion of the signal which is synchronous with the pump is amplified.


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Contact: Laura Ost
laura.ost@nist.gov
303-497-4880
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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