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Quantum Supercomputer using Majorana Zero Modes

Why in News?: Recently, Microsoft researchers announced a significant breakthrough in the creation of Majorana Zero Modes, a type of particle....Quantum Supercomputer using Majorana Zero Modes

Why in News?: Recently, Microsoft researchers announced a significant breakthrough in the creation of Majorana Zero Modes, a type of particle with potential implications for revolutionizing quantum computing

What are Majorana Zero Modes? 
  • Quantum Numbers and Spin: All particles have four quantum numbers, with one called the quantum spin having half-integer values for fermions. This property allows any fermion, even a large entity like an atom, to be classified as a fermion.
  • Bound States and Fermions: Bound states composed of two particles can also be classified as fermions if their total quantum spin possesses a half-integer value.
  • Majorana Zero Modes: When these bound states are their own antiparticles and do not readily de-cohere, they are known as Majorana zero modes, which have been sought after by physicists for many years.
What is Quantum Computing?
  • Quantum computing utilizes phenomena in quantum physics for computational purposes.
  • Quantum physics explains atomic and subatomic level behaviors of energy and matter.
  • Unlike classical computers, quantum computing involves qubits that can exist in multidimensional states.
  • The power of quantum computers grows exponentially with more qubits, unlike linear growth in classical computers.
Challenges in realizing Majorana Zero Modes
  • First, isolating Majorana zero modes experimentally is extremely challenging due to the precise conditions required. They are expected to exist only in certain types of superconductors, under very specific conditions.
  • Second, even if isolated, verifying their existence is difficult. Majorana zero modes leave a minimal experimental footprint, making their detection and confirmation problematic.
  • Third, there’s a challenge in maintaining the stability of Majorana zero modes. The stability of these states is extremely sensitive to environmental influences, which could easily disrupt them.
  • Fourth, the manipulation of Majorana zero modes is not straightforward. It requires highly advanced and controlled experimental techniques, which are currently not fully developed.
  • Lastly, scaling up from individual Majorana zero modes to a fully functional quantum computer architecture is a monumental task, involving numerous technical and conceptual obstacles.
Advantages and Potential Benefits:
  1. Enhanced Stability: Majorana zero modes provide increased stability for qubits, which are the basic units of information in quantum computing. Even if one component of a bound state is disturbed, the qubit as a whole can remain protected and retain its encoded information.
  2. Topological Quantum Computing: Majorana zero modes enable topological quantum computing, a unique approach that leverages non-Abelian statistics. These statistics introduce an additional degree of freedom, allowing algorithms to produce different outcomes based on the order in which steps are performed. This has the potential to significantly enhance computational capabilities.
What new discovery has Microsoft made?
  • Researchers at Microsoft have engineered a topological superconductor using an aluminium superconductor and an indium arsenide semiconductor.
  • Their device passed the “topological gap protocol,” indicating a high likelihood of hosting Majorana zero modes.
  • Microsoft believes that within 10 years, a quantum supercomputer using these qubits could be built, capable of performing one million quantum operations per second.
  • However, experts urge caution, emphasizing the need for independent confirmation of the results.
  • Some experts believe that topological quantum computing may still be at least a century away.
FAQs Related with Quantum Supercomputer and Majorana Zero Modes
Ques 1: What is a quantum supercomputer?

Answer: A quantum supercomputer is a type of computer that uses quantum bits, or qubits, to perform complex calculations and solve problems much faster than traditional computers.

Ques 2: What are Majorana zero modes?

Answer: Majorana zero modes are a type of quasiparticle that can appear in certain materials. They have unique properties that make them promising for quantum computing and topological quantum operations.

Ques 3: When can we expect a quantum supercomputer with Majorana zero modes?

Answer: Microsoft aims to build a quantum supercomputer with Majorana zero modes within 10 years, pending independent confirmation and development.

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