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How the alphabet of data processing is growing: Research team generates flying 'qubits'
Date:3/25/2012

hers allowed individual electrons to interfere with each other. This works with the so-called Aharonov-Bohm effect: powered by an external voltage, the electrons fly through a semiconducting solid. Within this solid, their trajectory is first forked and then reunited. Thus, each electron flies simultaneously on both possible paths. When the two paths come together again, there is interference, i.e., the two electron waves overlap and quantum bits with different overlapping states are generated.

Controlling electrons on defined paths

Normally, an electron wave moves through a solid body on many different paths at the same time. Due to impurities in the material, it loses its phase information and thus its ability to encode a particular state. To maintain the phase information, the researchers at the RUB grew a high-purity gallium arsenide crystal and used a dual channel proposed by Wieck more than 20 years ago.

How the dual channel works

An electron reaches the fork via two closely spaced channels. These are coupled with each other (tunnel-coupling), so that the electron flies simultaneously on two different paths. The phases of the electron waves are maintained by the coupling. The same dual channel was also used by the team after the electron waves were reunited at the end of the fork. In this way, they produced quantum bits with clear states which are suitable for encoding information. "Unfortunately, not all the electrons take part in this process, so far it's only a few percent" commented Wieck. "Some students in my department are, however, already working on growing crystals with higher electron densities".


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Contact: Dr. Andreas Wieck
andreas.wieck@rub.de
49-234-322-8786
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

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