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Nanofridge Could Keep Quantum Computers Cool Enough to Calculate

By New Scientist

May 11, 2017

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Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have conceived of a nanoscale refrigerator to maintain temperatures cold enough to keep qubits functioning in a quantum computer.

Aalto's Mikko Mottonen and colleagues built a circuit with an energy gap that splits channels into superconducting and non-superconducting lanes, and only sufficiently energetic electrons can cross the gap and enter the faster superconducting lane. Electrons whose energy falls just short of this threshold can capture photons from a nearby resonator to boost themselves over the gap, causing a gradual cool-down of the resonator. Over time hotter electrons jump the gap while cooler ones stay in the non-superconducting channel, removing heat from the system.

Mottonen says the next phase will involve constructing the nanofridge and cooling qubits without it destroying superposition when the device is deactivated. "Maybe in 10 to 15 years, this might be commercially useful," he says.

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