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EPSRC Reference: EP/C511484/1
Title: Single-Atom Addressability In A 3D Quasi-Electrostatic Lattice: Neutral Atom Quantum Gates
Principal Investigator: Adams, Professor CS
Other Investigators:
Riis, Professor E Hughes, Professor IG Cornish, Professor SL
Arnold, Dr AS
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 April 2005 Ends: 30 September 2008 Value (£): 364,556
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Cold Atomic Species Quantum Optics & Information
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
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Summary on Grant Application Form
The goal of this project is to cool atoms to within a millionth of a degree of absolute zero, trap them in a periodic three-dimensional array using laser beams, and demonstrate the building blocks of a next generation quantum computer. This periodic array of atoms is known as an optical lattice. The new and unique feature of our lattice, known as single-site addressability, is that the spacing between atoms is sufficiently large (about 1/100th of a millimetre) that we can use additional focussed laser beams to control the electronic state of each individual atom. We can label two electronic or quantum states within the atom as 0 and 1, similar to the 0 and 1 bits used in conventional computing. However, the quantum bit or qubit is potentially much more powerful than a conventional bit because it can exist in both the 0 and 1 state simultaneously, a so called superposition state. A relatively small quantum computer based on a few hundred qubits could potentially solve problems way beyond the scope of the most advanced computers we have today. To exploit the power of quantum computing we need to generate quantum superposition states and move parts of these superpositions around within our lattice such that atoms in neighbouring sites become entangled with one another. We can move atoms through the lattice using an intense very tightly focussed laser beam known as an optical tweezer. By moving the entangled part of the atom back to its original lattice site it ends up in a superposition of the 0 or 1 state that depends on the state of its neighbour. We will detect the final state of the atom by moving it to either the 0 or 1 detection site and then illuminating it with laser light in such a way that if it starts to heat up, then additional photons from the same laser take the excess energy away again. The sequence of generating a superposition, moving parts of the superposition to neighbouring sites and back, and detection is known as a quantum gate. The conditional outcome of the quantum gate allows us to perform all the operations needed for computing. Finally, the property of entanglement that lies at the heart of the quantum gate does not occur in the everyday world so as well as developing the techniques needed for much faster computers we will deepen our knowledge of some of the weirdest and least understood aspects of the quantum world.
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