Researchers have cleared a major hurdle in the quest to build practical quantum computers
For the first time, scientists have successfully detected and eliminated common “erasure” errors in an array of Rydberg atoms – a leading quantum computing platform. This breakthrough dramatically boosted the system’s entanglement fidelity, overcoming a key challenge facing fragile quantum devices.
Reporting in Nature, researchers at Caltech demonstrate a technique to pinpoint and erase errors without causing additional mistakes, an elusive goal until now. “It’s hard to spot quantum errors without making more, but we show precise control to discard errors cleanly,” explains lead author Adam Shaw. Their “quantum eraser” harnesses the glow of problematic atoms when struck with a laser, revealing locations to then exclude or directly fix.
By removing culprit atoms, the team achieved an unprecedented 99.9% entanglement success between neighbours – a 10x betterment and high-water mark for scalable neutral atom systems prized for future computing. Quantum devices must maintain intricately connected qubit states. They can be conceptualized as resembling apples in a basket – if one apple rots, all quickly spoil without careful error correction.
Princeton computer scientists first conceptualized this erasure approach. But Caltech adapted the theory into a working implementation for practical systems nearing the noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) era. “Our results are huge for advancing neutral atom arrays with the high fidelities necessary for computing,” says Shaw. As quantum progress slowly escapes the realm of pure science towards future real-world applications, this breakthrough over critical error correction hurdles represents another stride towards that distant goal.
Article: “Erasure conversion in a high-fidelity Rydberg quantum simulator” by Pascal Scholl, Adam L. Shaw, Richard Bing-Shiun Tsai, Ran Finkelstein, Joonhee Choi and Manuel Endres, 11 October 2023, Nature.