The challenge to build a universal quantum computers has been described as difficult as manned space travel to Mars. By inventing a new method where voltages applied to a quantum computer microchip are used to implement entanglement operations, we have managed to remove one of the biggest barriers traditionally faced to build a large-scale quantum computer using trapped ions, namely having to precisely align billions of lasers to execute quantum gate operations.
In order to be able to build large scale device, a quantum computer needs to be modular. One approach features modules that are connected via photonic interconnect, however, with only very small connection speeds between modules demonstrated so far. We have invented an alternative method where modules are connected via electric fields, allowing ions to be transported from one module to another giving rise to much faster connection speeds.
Incorporating these two inventions, we recently unveiled the first industrial blueprint on how to build a large-scale quantum computer which I will discuss in this talk. I will show progress in constructing a quantum computer prototype at the University of Sussex featuring this technology and I will discuss a new method we have demonstrated recently in order to make quantum gates with trapped ions more resilient to sources of decoherence such as motional heating, stray magnetic fields and noise in electrical components.
Finally, I will discuss our plans to commercially build practical quantum computers along with ways to get involved.
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Developing practical large scale quantum computers using trapped ions
Winfried Hensinger is Professor of Quantum Technologies at the University of Sussex. Hensinger heads the Sussex Ion Quantum Technology Group and he is the director of the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies. Hensinger's group works on constructing a trapped-ion quantum computer demonstrator device, a quantum simulation engine as well as portable quantum sensors.