A team led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has announced the creation of a new qubit platform formed by freezing neon gas into a solid at very low temperatures, spraying electrons from a light bulb’s filament onto the solid, and trapping a single electron there. This system shows great promise to be developed into ideal building blocks for future quantum computers.
One of the challenges for any qubit, including the electron, is that it is very sensitive to disturbance from its surroundings. Thus, the team chose to trap an electron on an ultrapure solid neon surface in a vacuum.
Neon is one of a handful of inert elements that do not react with other elements.
A key component in the team’s qubit platform is a chip-scale microwave resonator made out of a superconductor. Superconductors allow electrons and photons to interact together at near to absolute zero with minimal loss of energy or information.
The team performed real-time operations to an electron qubit and characterized its quantum properties. These tests demonstrated that the solid neon provides a robust environment for the electron with very low electric noise to disturb it. Most importantly, the qubit attained coherence times in the quantum state competitive with state-of-the-art qubits.
The paper has been published in Nature.