Diamonds Aren’t Forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together. “People have already built small quantum computers,” says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. “Maybe the first useful one won’t be a single giant quantum computer but a connected cluster of small ones.” Distributing quantum information on a bridge, or network, could also enable novel forms of quantum sensing, since quantum correlations allow all the atoms in the network to behave as though they were one single atom. The joint work with Harvard University used a focused ion beam implanter at Sandia’s Ion Beam Laboratory designed for blasting single ions into precise locations on a diamond substrate. Sandia researchers Ed Bielejec, Jose Pacheco and Daniel Perry used implantation to replace one carbon atom of the diamond with the larger silicon atom, which causes the two carbon atoms on either side of the silicon atom to feel crowded enough to flee. That leaves the silicon atom a kind of large landowner, buffered against stray electrical currents by the neighboring non-conducting vacancies. Though the silicon atoms are embedded in a solid, they behave as though floating in a gas, and therefore their electrons’ response to quantum stimuli are not clouded by unwanted interactions with other matter.”