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The Rise of Quantum Technology: from Teleportation to the Fastest Computers on Earth

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19:30 – 21:30 1 Dec 2009
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Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-26 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PQ

Speakers: Dr W K Hensinger (Sussex)

Lecture begins at 19:30, with a sherry / orange-juice reception from 19:00.
Quantum mechanics has been one of the most successful theories in modern physics leading to such strange predictions as a cat being dead and alive at the same time. This particular paradox is known as Schrödingers cat. Quantum weirdness and spookiness stunned many physicists, most prominently Albert Einstein. Since its creation in the early parts of the twentieth century, a large number of experimental tests have confirmed the validity of quantum mechanics.
Only recently it has emerged that quantum mechanics gives rise to powerful practical applications commonly referred to as quantum technologies. One example is the quantum computer. While such a device could have very important commercial and national security applications due to the existence of quantum factoring algorithms, its realization could revolutionize modern day science. The quantum computer will be able to outperform even the most advanced classical computer. Its revolutionary method of data processing allows it to run many algorithms more efficiently than any classical super computer. Large scale searches can be performed in fractions of the time a classical computer would take, and significantly more complex simulations can be processed. Devices that are based on this technology could solve many mysteries in the understanding of our world, such as understanding chemical reactions or ultimately the creation of new medicines.
The Ion Quantum Technology group at the University of Sussex is developing quantum technology, in particular, the quantum computer. In this talk I will give a broad introduction to the field of quantum technology and I will give a summary of the work carried out at Sussex. By trapping individual charged atoms (ions) and cooling them to absolute zero (-273° C) using laser beams, we are in the process of implementing a practical quantum computing device. Recent developments in ion trapping technology show that it will be possible to build a quantum computer with trapped ions. Trapped ion quantum technology has already been successfully applied in experiments with a small number of quantum bits, for example to realize quantum algorithms such as search and generation of small scale teleportation similar to the process depicted by Star Trek. Entanglement, explained by Einstein as spooky action at a distance, has been accomplished with entangled states of up to 8 ions, ion-photon entanglement, and a number of powerful algorithms.
In order to build useful devices, the next step must include the systematic development of suitable architectures for large scale ion quantum technology applications. In this talk I will discuss pathways how such architectures may be realized and recent progress that has been made. The scalable fabrication of ion trap arrays involves advanced nanofabrication techniques including photolithography. A first step has been made with the successful implementation of an integrated ion chip etched in a multi-layer Gallium-Arsenide substrate. Shuttling ions in multidimensional structures will likely form an important tool for the interchange of quantum information. I talk about our work on shuttling ions within such structures on a chip. I will show a perspective of the work that still needs to be carried out in order to produce practical devices and highlight the importance of the condensed matter – atomic physics interface.

Event type: Event
Organised by: Scotland Branch
Contact details: Prof. Derryck T. Reid FInstP
Ultrafast Optics Group
School of Engineering and Physical Sciences Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK http://www.ultrafast.hw.ac.uk
Office: +44(0)131 451 3652
Labs: +44(0)131 451 3003
Fax. +44(0)131 451 3136
d.t.reid@hw.ac.uk

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/physics/iqt/


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Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-26 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PQ
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19:30 – 21:30 1 Dec 2009
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