QDesign: Quantum Computer Components and Full-Stack System Design

Photo of a laser table used in DQC's computersThe heart of our quantum computers is a collection of individual atoms as the quantum bits or qubits. These atomic ions are all the same isotope and element to form an atomically perfect crystal.  They are levitated in free space by electrodes on a nearby chip device carrying radiofrequency and static electrical potentials, all in a vacuum environment.

We integrate these chip traps in specially designed room-temperature or cryogenic (4K) vacuum chambers. Importantly, the confinement of the atomic qubits has absolutely no effect on the qubit itself, which is a unique feature of trapped ions. Finally, we surround the system with reconfigurable optical controllers, where laser beams poke the atomic qubits and allow qubit initialization, universal quantum logic gates and qubit measurement, forming for the most powerful research quantum computers available today.

Close up of a gloved hand holding a component

Scaling down as we scale up: mini vacuum seal on next-gen ion trap system

At the component level, our qubits can be perfectly replicated and are nearly perfectly isolated from the environment, because they are atomic clocks. These pristine attributes allow the indefinite scaling of trapped ion quantum computers. At the system level, we are continually modifying and updating our quantum computers, and as we scale to more qubits, the systems are getting smaller and more reliable, in an example of quantum systems engineering.  This approach will allow us to deploy ever more powerful systems for scientific applications of all kinds.

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Iman Marvian, Jungsang Kim and Kenneth Brown in Kim's lab in The Chesterfield building in downtown Durham

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A closeup view of a surface ion trap used in the quantum computing technology being pursued by Duke researchers

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Close up photo of a surface ion trap

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Photo of the EURIQA quantum computer

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