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Phonons and Quantum Computers UPSC NOTE


What are Quantum computers?

  • Quantum computing is a type of computation whose operations can harness the phenomena of quantum mechanics, such as superposition, interference, and entanglement.

  • Devices that perform quantum computations are known as quantum computers.

  • Quantum computing is an area of computing based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the behaviour of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels.

  • Information storage and manipulation are based on Quantum Bit or “qubit”.

  • It is possible to be in more than one state at a time.

  • In quantum computers, data processing is done in the Quantum Processing Unit or QPU, which consists of several interconnected qubits.

  • Quantum computers will allow much larger calculations.

What are qubits?

  • In quantum computing the information is encoded in qubits.

  • A qubit (or quantum bit) is the quantum mechanical analogue of a classical bit. 


  • A qubit is a two-level quantum system where the two basis qubit states are usually written as ∣0⟩ and ∣1⟩. 

  • A qubit can be in state∣0⟩, ∣1⟩ or (unlike a classical bit) in a linear combination of both states. The name of this phenomenon is superposition. 

  • A qubit can be a particle — like an electron; a collection of particles; or a quantum system engineered to behave like a particle.

  • Other forms of quantum computing use other units of information. 


  • For example,
    linear optical quantum computing (LOQC) uses photons, the particles of light, as qubits. 

  • LOQC offers to use optical equipment — like mirrors, lenses, splitters, waveplates — with photons to process information.

What are phonons?

  • Phonons are packets of vibrational energy.

  • According to a paper published in Science, we can build a quantum computer whose information unit is, colloquially speaking, sound.

  • Acoustic beam-splitters needed to manipulate phonons.


The findings of the study

  • The researchers developed an acoustic beam-splitter.

  • It was placed in the middle of a two-mm-long channel of lithium niobate. 

  • Each end of the channel had a superconducting qubit — a qubit whose circuit components were superconducting — that could both emit and detect individual phonons. 

  • The whole setup was maintained at an ultra-low temperature. 

  • If these phonons were converted to sound, their frequency would be too high for humans to hear.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Phonons and Quantum Computers UPSC NOTE
Phonons and Quantum Computers UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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