In what may be the most surprising news of this month, researchers from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering have discovered a way to tune quantum signals so that they can coexist with today's electronics. This is a major breakthrough as these signals were previously considered much too delicate to work with our everyday electronics.
High-performance quantum bits
“The ability to create and control high-performance quantum bits in commercial electronics was a surprise,” said in a statement lead investigator David Awschalom, the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering at UChicago and a pioneer in quantum technology. “These discoveries have changed the way we think about developing quantum technologies—perhaps we can find a way to use today’s electronics to build quantum devices.”
What this means is that quantum electronics could one day be coming to a store near you as they no longer require complex materials such as superconducting metals and diamonds to function. The new research sees these electronics-compatible quantum states embedded in silicon carbide.
These silicon carbide-driven states emit single particles of light with a wavelength near the telecommunications band. “This makes them well suited to the long-distance transmission through the same fiber-optic network that already transports 90% of all international data worldwide,” said Awschalom, senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory and director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange.
The new breakthroughs also address noise, a common problem in quantum technology. By using the diode, the researchers were able to make the quantum signals noise-free and perfectly stable.
All in all, the team is very excited about their groundbreaking research even if to be honest it will be a long way before we actually see quantum electronics come to life. “This work brings us one step closer to the realization of systems capable of storing and distributing quantum information across the world’s fiber-optic networks,” Awschalom said.
“Such quantum networks would bring about a novel class of technologies allowing for the creation of unhackable communication channels, the teleportation of single-electron states and the realization of a quantum internet.”
The two studies were published in Science and Science Advances.