2017 New Initiative Grant
Michael Hatridge, Ph.D. (PI) Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Pittsburgh
Roger Mong, Ph.D. (co-investigator) Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Pittsburgh
Protecting quantum wires for quantum computing
At a fundamental level, all matter is quantum. Our perception that we inhabit a classical world is due to the delicacy of quantum states: large systems rapidly lose their quantum features due to decoherence and imperfect control. One of the greatest dreams of the 21st century is to harness and control quantum matter from the ‘bottom up’ with perfect control, so that large quantum machines (or quantum computers) can be built which retain their fully quantum nature and provide tremendous computing power for intractable problems in physics, chemistry, big data, and more. Another picture of quantum matter is offered by exotic ‘topological’ phases of matter. Topological phases directly contradict the behavior of usual matter, in that the states at the system’s edges are protected against electrical loss due to imperfections. In contradiction to normal quantum matter, this protection improves rather than degrades with increased system size. This project will seek to combine the best features of quantum computing and topologically protected systems. We will focus on realizing a two-dimensional array of superconducting elements capable of routing and transforming quantum light around its edge without loss. This array will act as a ‘quantum wire’ connecting distant parts of a quantum computer. This project will open new doors in the study of topological systems, while the quantum wire itself will serve as a vital element in quantum communication and a potential backbone for large-scale quantum computers.