Jul 21, 2019 | Updated: 09:46 AM EDT

Physicists Enable Ultrafast Quantum Computing Using Light Waves to Accelerate Supercurrents

Jul 02, 2019 09:45 AM EDT

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Physicists Enable Ultrafast Quantum Computing Using Light Waves to Accelerate Supercurrents
(Photo : Jigang Wang/Iowa State University)

The discovery in quantum control that could result in superfast computing based on quantum mechanics is what Jigang Wang explained, mentioning that light-induced superconductivity without energy gap. Wang brought up forbidden supercurrent quantum beats as well as suggesting terahertz-speed symmetry breaking.

Backing up, Wang clarified all that. After all, the quantum world of matter and energy at terahertz and nanometer scales - trillions of cycles per second and billionths of meters - is still a mystery to most of the people.

A professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University whose research has been supported by the Army Research Office, Wang noted that he likes to study quantum control of superconductivity exceeding the gigahertz, or billions of cycles per second, the bottleneck in current state-of-the-art quantum computation applications. According to him, they are using terahertz light as a control knob to accelerate supercurrents.

The movement of electricity through specific materials without resistance is superconductivity, occurring at extremely cold temperatures. Think -400 Fahrenheit for 'high-temperature' superconductors. Terahertz light is light at extremely high frequencies. Think trillions of cycles per second. It's firm and powerful microwave bursts firing at quite short time frames.

With a team of researchers, Wang demonstrated such light could be used to control some of the essential quantum properties of superconducting states, including macroscopic supercurrent flowing, broken symmetry and accessing individual high-frequency quantum oscillations believed to be forbidden by symmetry.

As esoteric and strange as it sounds, however, it could have practical applications.

According to Wang and some of the co-authors who wrote in a research paper published in the journal Nature Photonics, light-induced supercurrents chart a path forward for the electromagnetic design of new materials properties and collective coherent oscillations for quantum engineering applications. Wang summarized the results of the team's research by saying that in other words, the discovery could help physicists 'create crazy-fast quantum computers by nudging supercurrents.

These days, one significant scientific push is to find ways to control access and manipulate the unique characteristics of the quantum world and connect them to real-world problems.

In the summary of the research team's study, experimental data obtained from a terahertz spectroscopy instrument indicates terahertz light-wave tuning of supercurrents is a universal tool and is the key for pushing quantum functionalities to reach their ultimate limits in many cross-cutting disciplines including those mentioned by the science foundation. Conclusively, the team believes that it is fair to include that the present research opens a new arena of light-wave superconducting electronics through terahertz quantum control for many years to come.

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