Washington: Scientists in the US claim to
have used cutting-edge computational techniques to produce a
road map for studying defects in alternative materials which
could be used for building a potential quantum computer.
A team at California University claims that
the findings may enable new applications for semiconductors --
materials that are the foundation of today`s information
technology, the `Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences` journal reported.
"Our results are likely to have an impact on
experimental and theoretical research in diverse areas of
science and technology, including semiconductor physics,
materials science, magnetism, and quantum device engineering,"
said lead scientist Prof David Awschalom.
"Ironically, while much of semiconductor technology
is devoted to eliminating the defects that interfere with how
today`s devices operate, these defects may actually be useful
for future quantum technologies."
The scientists have developed a set of screening
criteria to find specific atomic defects in solids that could
act as quantum bits in a potential quantum computer.
As a point of reference, they use a system whose
quantum properties they themselves have recently helped to
discern, the NV or nitrogen-vacancy center defect in diamond.
This defect, which the team has shown can act as a
very fast and stable qubit at room temperature, consists of a
stray nitrogen atom alongside a vacancy in the otherwise
perfect stacking of carbon atoms in a diamond.
First Published: Saturday, May 01, 2010, 15:54