an electron surfboard

Quantum computers work by transmitting information between knots of a network. A ” shuttle bus ” embeds unique electrons in the hollow of sound waves, “ like a surfer on a wave of water “.

The technique using sound waves is well known to scientists. However, synchronizing this transport from different quantum nodes presented a major pitfall. Indeed, the spatial extent of surface acoustic waves causes undesirable disturbances. Especially in the context of quantum experiments, where it makes the exact position of the electron ambiguous.

This new technology is analogous to that used to create laser pulses, using sound rather than light. The team designed a specific type of “chirp” transducer, which exists in laser technology.

An electron riding a solitary sound wave to transmit information to a quantum node. The new “chirp” transducer (grey) generates an acoustic pulse (blue) with a single location to trap the electron (red). The transport through the channel (yellow) is extremely precise. © Shunsuke Ota

This new “chirp” compresses the sound wave to obtain only one minimum, and therefore produces a sound wave with only one hollow. This can thus transport a single electron with real temporal precision.

In this way, it is now possible to synchronize several quantum nodes with an accuracy that would reach 99%. Indeed, the information is located in a fixed place, and therefore always arrives at the same time. We can hope that this fundamental technique, like lasers, will have new applications in many fields.

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