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IBM introduces impressive new quantum computer, though with some hefty requirements

IBM introduces impressive new quantum computer, though with some hefty requirements

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News & Events - Engineering News

February 29, 2012


IBM made a big splash at the recent annual meeting of the American Physical Society by claiming that the industry could soon begin practical application of quantum computing. But as interesting as their optimistic outlook is, the quantum computing technology the company introduced along with it is just as fascinating.

Wired reports that IBM introduced an interesting new "three-dimensional" quantum computing device that can increase the doherence time on its qubits, the time before these tiny transistors lose their special quantum properties, to as long as 10 microseconds.

According to PCMag.com, the system incorporates three qubits on a two-dimensional sapphire chip, produced using similar technologies to traditional silicon substrates. This chip is then mounted inside a gap in a block of aluminum oxide more than an inch to a side, which acts as an effective insulator.

However, there is some hope that IBM could begin to string together some of these devices, despite their size, and they already make use of some relatively common manufacturing processes.

Of course, the chip also makes use of superconductors that rely on extremely low temperatures, around 15 to 20 millikelvin, according to ZDNet. That amounts to temperatures below minus 273 degrees Celsius or nearly minus 460 degrees Fahrenheit.

"The next bottleneck is now how to make these devices betters. The bottleneck is how to put five or ten of these on a chip," Matthias Steffen, who oversees IBM's quantum computing group, explained to Wired. "The device performance is good enough to do that right now. The question is just: ‘How do you put it all together?'"



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