Science 3 min read

Terahertz Technology to Accelerate Quantum Computing Development

Physicists explore the potential of terahertz technology to enable the light-induced acceleration of supercurrents for quantum computers.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Scientists and engineers working on the development of quantum computers hit an impasse over something that their understanding can’t overcome.

In the quantum world, matter and energy, which are indissociable from one another, are subject to the laws that govern the nanometer and terahertz scales.

While the nanoscale—a nanometer is a billionth of a meter—concerns atoms, particles, and matter in general, the terahertz scale is about energy at very high frequencies, trillions of cycles per second.

Little is understood about the quantum matter and quantum energy at terahertz and nanometer scales.

However, a new research into terahertz technology conducted by Iowa State University shed some light on supercurrents and could lay the groundwork for its practical application in the field of quantum computers.

Terahertz Technology: Light-Control Knob for Quantum Computers

Professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University, Jigang Wang likes to study how to control superconductivity beyond the gigahertz barrier, or the “bottleneck in the current state-of-the-art quantum computation applications.”

Wang and a team of collaborators, in a study supported by the Army Research Office, showed the potential of light-Induced supercurrents in the development of incredible quantum computers.

The team used terahertz light as a “control knob” to accelerate supercurrents. This terahertz technology uses light at ultra-high frequencies of trillions of cycles per second. Terahertz light is like extremely powerful microwaves bursting at very short time periods.

This terahertz technology could have several practical applications.

“Light-induced supercurrents chart a path forward for the electromagnetic design of emergent materials properties and collective coherent oscillations for quantum engineering applications,” the authors wrote in their paper published in Nature Photonics.

What the team has demonstrated here is that this terahertz technology can be used to control some of quantum superconductivity’s significant properties, enabling the creation of “crazy-fast quantum computers by nudging supercurrents.” 

“By exploiting interactions of these quantum systems, next-generation technologies for sensing, computing, modeling, and communicating will be more accurate and efficient. To reach these capabilities, researchers need an understanding of quantum mechanics to observe, manipulate and control the behavior of particles and energy at dimensions at least a million times smaller than the width of a human hair.”

According to researchers, the manipulation of macroscopic supercurrent flowing, broken symmetry, and accessing very high-frequency quantum oscillations would enable the development of quantum computers soon.

This latest research is one of the many efforts in recent years that shows the potential applications of this high-frequency technology in fields like biology, medicine, communications, and quantum computing.

Read More: Accomplished Today: Faster-Than-Fiber-Optic Terahertz Communication

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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