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New form of LED brings quantum computing closer

Toshiba and Cambridge collaborate
Thu Jun 03 2010, 13:55

BOFFINS at Toshiba and the University of Cambridge have hit upon another breakthrough in quantum computing, this time involving a new form of LED.

Following the announcement of work done in encryption, this time they have found a way of creating entangled light using a voltage driven power source, rather than producing it using an intense laser beam on crystals as previously.

Entangled light is key for a quantum computer, a machine with massive processing power. It can also be applied to secure communication systems based on quantum cryptography and increase the storage capacity of optical disks.

The new source of entangled light is based upon similar semiconductor LED tech used in computer indicator lamps and household lighting.

It differs to conventional LEDs in that it contains a nanometer-scale region of semiconductor, called a quantum dot, that converts electrical current into entangled light.

Dr Mark Stevenson, senior research scientist on the project explained, "For successful operation it was essential to optimise the thickness of the semiconductor material surrounding the quantum dot to control the supply of current to the dot."

He added, "In addition the properties of the dot itself had to be carefully tailored to produce entangled emission."

It is suitable for mass manufacture, meaning that multiple compact and cheap entangled light emitters can be produced.

Dr Andrew Shields at Toshiba Research Europe said, "The discovery is significant because it will allow electrical addressing of many entangled light emitters on a single chip, opening the path to ultra-powerful semiconductor processors based on quantum computation." µ



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