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Quantum computers ditch all the lasers for easier engineering

They will be the ultimate multitaskers – but quantum computers might take a bit of juggling to operate. Now, a team has simplified their inner workings. Computers that take advantage of quantum laws allowing particles to exist in multiple states at the same time promise to run millions of calculations at once. One of the candidate technologies involves ion traps, which hold and manipulate charged particles, called ions, to encode information. But to make a processor that works faster than a classical computer would require millions of such traps, each controlled with its own precisely aligned laser – making it extremely complicated. Now, Winfried Hensinger at the University of Sussex in the UK and his colleagues have replaced the millions of lasers with some static magnets and a handful of electromagnetic fields. “Our invention has led to a radical simplification of the engineering required, which means we are now able to construct a large-scale device,” he says.”

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