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Academics establish UK’s first superconducting quantum bit foundry

12 May 2015

A team of researchers, has designed, built and operated the first working superconducting qubit devices in the UK at Royal Holloway, University of London.

RHUL/NPL doctoral student team member Teresa Hoenigl-Decrinis stands next to an advanced thin-film deposition system

The team is led by Professor Oleg Astafiev, jointly appointed Professor at Royal Holloway and Visiting Professor at the National Physical Laboratory.

Quantum computers require electronic components that operate according to the laws of Quantum Physics and one of the most advanced technologies presently under study worldwide for this purpose is that based on superconductors that display quantum coherent effects close to temperatures of absolute zero. Potential applications of the new technology, however, spread far beyond the field of quantum computing and include potential advancements in medicine and space exploration.

Professor Astafiev made the breakthrough in this new and fast moving technology following an investment of around £1.5 million in advanced research equipment from both Royal Holloway and collaborators at the National Physical Laboratory.

Underpinning this achievement were key advances in the quality of nano-fabrication taken by the team, which includes the expertise of Drs Vladimir Antonov and Rais Shaikhaidarov and PhD students Teresa Hoenigl-Decrinis and Alexei Dmitriev.

In the device, several qubits (quantum bits) are coupled to a microwave transmission line, the images show various aspects of the quantum nature of the device and, importantly, detailed analysis of the data prove the high quality of the design and fabrication process.

Professor Astafiev says the devices his team is now producing and measuring establish the capability at Royal Holloway as "state-of-the-art" in the field.

“Our future is very bright, we will move from here to study more complex devices and the most interesting phenomena in macroscopic quantum devices and quantum microwave photonics," he adds.

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