Feb 8, 2024

New techniques for making qubits out of erbium

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, particle physics, quantum physics

Qubits are the building block for quantum technology, and finding or building qubits that are stable and easily manipulated is one of the central goals of quantum technology research. Scientists have found that an atom of erbium—a rare-earth metal sometimes used in lasers or to color glass—can be a very effective qubit.

To make qubits, erbium atoms are placed in “host materials,” where the erbium atoms replace some of the material’s original atoms. Two research groups—one at quantum startup memQ, a Chicago Quantum Exchange corporate partner, and one at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, a CQE member—have used different host materials for erbium to advance , demonstrating the versatility of this kind of qubit and highlighting the importance of materials science to quantum computing and quantum communication.

The two projects address challenges that quantum computing researchers have been trying to solve: engineering multi-qubit devices and extending the amount of time qubits can hold information.

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