Co­op­er­a­tive re­search

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHU LIXIN in He­fei zhulixin@chi­

Co­op­er­a­tive re­search agree­ment delves into pro­duc­tion process of Ter­ra­cotta War­riors.

Al­though Chi­nese sci­en­tists said there is still a long way to go be­fore any ul­tra­pow­er­ful ma­chine can be de­vel­oped, progress has been made in terms of quan­tum me­mory tech­nol­ogy, which is a key com­po­nent to quan­tum com­put­ing and quan­tum com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

On Tues­day, China launched the world’s first quan­tum ex­per­i­men­tal satel­lite in an at­tempt to build a space-based quan­tum com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work.

Zhou Zongquan, a sci­en­tist in the field, told China Daily that fol­low­ing the break­through in 2011 when sci­en­tists at the Uni­ver­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy of China de­vel­oped the world’s first quan­tum me­mory of 1 quan­tum bit, or qubit, they have now de­vel­oped a me­mory of 100 qubits.

De­spite the ex­pan­sion in me­mory, the size of the quan­tum me­mory de­vice they de­vel­oped has re­mained the same, at about 200 cu­bic mil­lime­ters, which looks smaller than an ice cube or the size of a tooth brush head.

Ac­cord­ing to Zhou, who is with the USTC-based Key Lab­o­ra­tory of Quan­tum In­for­ma­tion un­der the Chi­nese Academy of Sci­ences, the de­vice con­sists of two pieces of rare-earth-doped crys­tal at the two ends and a po­lar­iza­tion ro­ta­tor in the mid­dle.

The “sand­wich-type” solid­state quan­tum me­mory can be op­er­a­tional at a low tem­per­a­ture, -270 C, with equip­ment to pro­vide a mag­netic field, he added.

In the fu­ture, “the USTC sci­en­tists aim to en­able the quan­tum me­mory to store more than 10,000 qubits in five to 10 years,” Zhou said.

They also aim to pro­long the life of the quan­tum me­mory to sev­eral hours be­fore it can go to fi­nal ap­pli­ca­tion, since cur­rently “the de­vice has only a very lim­ited me­mory time, or a few mi­cro sec­onds”, he said.

But they will not be able to avoid the chal­lenge of us­ing big mag­netic field equip­ment that can only be car­ried by a truck, he added.

The quan­tum me­mory tech­nol­ogy will be cru­cial to China’s re­search into quan­tum com­put­ing.

Guo Guang­can, a top quan­tum com­put­ing sci­en­tist from the USTC, said: “A quan­tum com­puter can revo­lu­tion­ize hu­mans’ lives as the elec­tronic one has been do­ing in the past decades.”

Guo, 73, also a mem­ber of the Chi­nese Academy of Sci­ences and head of the USTC based lab­o­ra­tory, said that quan­tum com­put­ing has been con­sid­ered a revo­lu­tion­ary tech­nol­ogy that could see wide ap­pli­ca­tions from space ex­plo­ration to can­cer treat­ment, so it might not come as a sur­prise that some ma­jor pow­ers are bet­ting big on the ul­tra­pow­er­ful ma­chines.

“Chi­nese sci­en­tists have been go­ing all out to win the world­wide race to de­velop a quan­tum com­puter,” said Guo.

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