Starting early this century, scientists have been working hard to exploit the strangeness of quantum mechanics and make a quantum computer. The superior computational processing power of quantum bits (qubits) is poised to have revolutionary impacts on diverse fields ranging from chemistry to economics. In the race to find a reliable platform for making quantum computers, superconducting qubits are among the leading ones. The background of the image is a wafer of superconducting qubit chips with a few qubits on each chip. The size of each chip (tiled squares) is about 6mm by 6mm. The wafer was made by depositing 200 nm of aluminum on a sapphire substrate, followed by a multi-layer lithography processing to nano-fabricate various elements of this quantum processor. In a recent work, scientists used one of these chips to study quantum topology and showed how superconducting qubits can help to make topological concepts tangible. Topology, in spite of its abstract mathematical constructs, often manifests itself in physics and has a pivotal role in our understanding of natural phenomena. Notably, the discovery of topological phases in condensed-matter systems has changed the modern conception of phases of matter. In their research, scientists found a novel method to directly measure topological properties of quantum systems.
Visit Website | Image credit: P. Roushan\Martinis lab\UCSB for BallsInGrid and ChernNum; M. Fang\Martinis lab\UCSB