Physicists from Yale University, the University of Texas-Austin, and France's Inria Paris have developed a device integrating the “Schrodinger's cat” concept of superposition—a physical system in two states simultaneously—with the ability to correct some of the toughest errors in quantum computation.
Traditional error correction adds redundancy to prevent quantum bits (qubits) from accidentally flipping from 0 to 1 or vice versa, or phase-flipping between superpositions; the cat qubit is encoded into superpositions within a single electronic circuit, directly suppressing phase-flips.
The researchers used the cat qubit as a superconducting microwave resonator, with oscillations corresponding to the two states.
The team can switch the cat qubit from any one state to any other on command, and identify the encoded data in a new manner.
Yale's Michel Devoret said, "This makes the system ... a versatile new element that will hopefully find its use in many aspects of quantum computation with superconducting circuits."
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