Quantum computing breakthrough by Tyndall researchers

15 Nov 201656 Shares

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A research team at Tyndall National Institute has made a quantum leap by developing a technical step that could enable the use of quantum computers sooner than expected. Image: Gerard McCarthy

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A researcher and his team at Tyndall National Institute in Cork have made a breakthrough that could enable the use of quantum computers sooner than expected.

The breakthrough by the team led by Dr Emanuele Pelucchi, head of epitaxy and physics of nanostructures and a member of the Science Foundation Ireland-funded Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC) at Tyndall National Institute in Cork, could have a serious impact on the future of computing.

The researchers at Tyndall have taken a step forward by making quantum dot light-emitting diodes (or LEDs) that can produce entangled photons (whose actions are linked), theoretically enabling their use to encode information in quantum computing.

‘The significant breakthrough by Dr Pelucchi advances our understanding of how to harness the opportunity and power of quantum computing, and undoubtedly accelerates progress in this field internationally’
– DR KIERAN DRAIN

“The new development here is that we have engineered a scalable array of electrically driven quantum dots, using easily sourced materials and conventional semiconductor fabrication technologies, and our method allows you to direct the position of these sources of entangled photons,” Pelucchi said.

“Being able to control the positions of the quantum dots and to build them at scale are key factors to underpin more widespread use of quantum computing technologies as they develop.”

A quantum leap

The Tyndall method uses nanotechnology to electrify arrays of the pyramid-shaped quantum dots so they produce entangled photons.

“We exploit intrinsic nanoscale properties of the whole pyramidal structure, in particular, an engineered self-assembled vertical quantum wire, which selectively injects current into the vicinity of a quantum dot,” Dr Pelucchi explained.

“The reported results are an important step towards the realisation of integrated quantum photonic circuits designed for quantum information processing tasks, where thousands or more sources would function in unison.”

Quantum computing is heralded as the next revolution in terms of global computing. Google, Intel and IBM are just some of the big names investing millions currently in the field of quantum computing, which will enable faster, more efficient computing required to power the requirements of our future needs.

“It is exciting to see how research at Tyndall continues to break new ground, particularly in relation to this development in quantum computing,” said Dr Kieran Drain, CEO of the Tyndall National Institute.

“The significant breakthrough by Dr Pelucchi advances our understanding of how to harness the opportunity and power of quantum computing, and undoubtedly accelerates progress in this field internationally.

“Photonics innovations by the IPIC team at Tyndall are being commercialised across a number of sectors and as a result, we are directly driving global innovation through our investment, talent and research in this area,” Dr Drain added.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com