New quantum computers can operate at higher temperatures

Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - 10:11 in Physics & Chemistry

Quantum computing’s deep freeze is beginning to thaw. Computers that harness quantum physics could trump standard computers on certain types of calculations. But the machines typically work only at temperatures tiny fractions of a degree above absolute zero. Now, two teams of physicists report that they’ve created silicon-based quantum computers that work under warmer conditions. The devices operate more than a degree above absolute zero, the scientists report in two papers published in the April 16 Nature. Although still chilly, that temperature is much easier to achieve than the approximately 10 millikelvin (0.01 degrees above absolute zero) temperatures typical of a popular type of quantum computer based on superconductors, materials which transmit electricity without resistance. Current quantum computers top out at around 50 quantum bits, but scientists expect quantum computers will need millions of these qubits to perform some tasks. So scientists are working to scale them up. Simplifying the cooling process could help the computers grow. That’s because extremely cold quantum computers have an additional...

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