National Physical Laboratory

Scalable Microfabricated Ion Traps research published in Nature Nanotechnology

Researchers in NPL's Quantum Detection Group have demonstrated for the first time a monolithic 3D ion microtrap array which could be scaled up to handle several tens of ion-based quantum bits (qubits). The paper 'A monolithic array of three-dimensional ion traps fabricated with conventional semiconductor technology', published in Nature Nanotechnology, shows how it is possible to realise this device embedded in a semiconductor chip, and demonstrates the device's ability to confine individual ions at the nanoscale.

This research has wide appeal as the device could be used in quantum computation, where entangled qubits are used to execute powerful quantum algorithms. As an example, factorisation of large numbers by a quantum algorithm is dramatically faster than with a classical algorithm.

Scalable ion traps consisting of a 2D array of electrodes have been developed, however 3D trap geometries can provide a superior potential for confining the ions. The team at NPL has now produced the first monolithic ion microtrap array which uniquely combines a near ideal 3D geometry with a scalable fabrication process which uses only conventional semiconductor fabrication technology. In terms of elementary operating characteristics, the microtrap chip outperforms all other scalable devices for ions.

Contact: Alastair Sinclair

Last Updated: 30 Aug 2012
Created: 30 Aug 2012