Danish research helps pioneer quantum computers of the future  

2009.07.27
A research team at Århus University has created an ion crystal of the kind which could provide the equivalent of RAM for the quantum computers of the future
Powerful though they are, the supercomputers of the present age will look positively prehistoric compared to the quantum computers of the future. These will use algorithms based on quantum mechanical effects at the atomic level to perform calculations exponentially faster than is possible with existing technology, reducing computation times so radically that a task that today would take centuries could be done in a few seconds.
 
One of the key components of future quantum computers is the equivalent of what we know today as RAM, or random access memory – the 'working capacity' of the computer as it performs computational tasks. For this task quantum computers will use devices called Coulomb crystals, and at Århus University in Denmark they have already succeeded in creating such a crystal.
 
On the front cover of the July issue of the renowned scientific journal Nature Physics, there is a picture of a Coulomb crystal that the Århus group has created, using calcium ions cooled to a temperature that is almost as low as you can physically get – a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero on the thermodynamic temperature (Kelvin) scale, equivalent to minus 273 degrees Celsius.
 
Professor Michael Drewsen, who leads the project at Århus University, comments to videnskab.dk which reports the news: "[At this temperature] the particles are virtually at a standstill, and this enables us to investigate how atomic particles behave at the most fundamental quantum physical level, which again can help us to understand the complex quantum world a little better."
 
Link > Århus University (Dept. of Physics and Astronomy)   

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