By Yolanda Smith, BPharm
Quantum dot technology has the potential to bring computing devices as we know them to a completely new level. The nanocrystal semiconductor particles have the ability to convert light energy and electrical energy and vice versa in an efficient and stable way that could revolutionize the way computers work.
However, before the use of quantum dots in computers become a reality available on a commercial scale, the technology needs further research and development. In particular, the ability to control the state of a single quantum bit is essential, in addition to the use of a gate to produce entanglement between two different computing states.
How it works
Quantum computing exists at the intersection between computer science and quantum mechanics. It is a relatively recent progression, with early conceptual research beginning in the 1980s, which is only now becoming a real practical application.
In traditional computing systems, information is conveyed with the use of the mathematical values of either zero or one in a computing bit, which is the most important aspect of the computing device. The quantum bit, on the other hand, can portray this information in a more efficient way, as it can give information of both states simultaneously and allows the possibility of multiple calculations conducted at one time.
Also known as a qubit, it is usually understood to be a system that exists between two states of zero and one and is the principal element used to convey information in the quantum computing system. Due to the superposition between the basic states, the numbers and functions can be represented simultaneously. This leads to an evident rise in the potential of quantum computers to provide more efficient technological system with increased speed.
Isolation is very important for the optimal function of quantum computers, as the superposition of states exists as a delicate balance that can easily be destroyed by environmental interaction. The quantum bits a required to stay in the same physical state to function correctly and rely on electron or hole spins in the production of computing function.
There are several schemes that have been suggested as modes to embody the potential of quantum computation. Examples of these include:
- Trapped ions
- Quantum optical systems
- Nuclear and electron spins
- Superconductor junctions
One of the biggest hurdles in the development of quantum dot computers is engineering a way to keep quantum bits in the same physical state for a longer period of time. This has proved a challenge in research in the area to date and it is hoped that an answer will emerge in the near future.
Last Updated: Apr 28, 2015