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Argonne National Laboratory: Advancing Quantum Information Science

Argonne National Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), has made substantial advances in quantum information science (QIS). Quantum information science (QIS) investigated the sensing and transmission of information using subatomic particles. It may one day lead to a quantum computer capable of tasks that were previously impossible to execute or a highly secure network for exchanging data.

By investigating novel materials, conducting rigorous simulations, and establishing themselves as industry experts, the lab has been working on expanding the boundaries of quantum information science (QIS). Recent progress manifested in extremely micro and nano sizes, from seconds to layers of atoms. Each tiny improvement brings us closer to our goal of using quantum physics in computing, communication, and sensing.

A single electron or a photon, the negatively charged portion of an atom, can carry information in the quantum world. However, materials with precise subatomic control must be developed to store and manipulate such particles. Graphene is a potential but challenging-to-make host for quantum data. Still, scientists at Argonne have constructed a material based on copper and carbon monoxide molecules to mimic graphene. The innovative quantum testbed verified hypothesised electron behaviour in graphene.

“It’s scarce for an experimental system to match theoretical predictions so perfectly,” said Dan Trainer, who worked on the study as a Postdoctoral Appointee at Argonne.

Argonne researchers have invented materials that can be controlled at subatomic levels to store and manipulate quantum particles. Other materials with potential for quantum applications have also seen significant progress, with silicon carbide being used to create a record-breaking qubit.

The material was used to build the largest qubit by Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago team. Since qubit signals typically only endure on the order of milliseconds, it can be challenging to read them efficiently. The qubit’s quantum state was preserved for over five seconds while being read on demand.

Researchers at Argonne also showed how pure diamond membranes can be used as platforms for storing and processing quantum information in another study. The Department of Energy (DOE) is providing money for more research into a commercial production technique for this quantum diamond material through their Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Technology Transfer (STTR) programmes.

The diamond idea is a subset of more extensive efforts to use flaws in crystals for use in quantum systems. For example, diamond membranes are a type of solid-state spin qubit, the subject of a recent Nature Reviews Materials journal. They revealed that pure diamond membranes could be used to encode and decode quantum information.

Moreover, researchers have utilised atomic-scale computer simulations to observe flaws growing, migrating, disappearing, and rotating in a sample throughout time and over a range of temperatures, which is impossible in practice. In addition, they used quantum computers to model quantum materials and suggested a way to increase the precision of quantum computing.

According to Elizabeth Lee, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the UChicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering who worked on the project, we can watch atomic-scale computer simulations with high-performance computers to watch defects forming, moving, disappearing, and rotating in a sample over time at different temperatures.

“We can watch defects forming, moving, and rotating in a sample over time at different temperatures,” she explained. Currently, this is something that can only be done experimentally. “The dynamics of quantum objects can be revealed through computer simulations in ways that experiments cannot. One study demonstrated the conversion of vacancies (spaces without atoms) in crystalline materials into quantum information.”

Another essential step is collaboration. More than twenty members from business and academia have joined Q-NEXT.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,800 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. For more information, visit www.ibm.com