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Vibration Isolation & Preserving the Quantum State

Quantum computing holds the potential to transform the field of computation by leveraging the unique properties of quantum mechanics. However, as Brian Keith, an applications engineer at TMC Vibration Control, explained recently: “The qubits themselves are in a superposition of states until the outside world interacts with them.”

This sensitivity to external influences, such as “the magnetic field generated from a nearby elevator or a ray of light, random temperature fluctuations in the room and floor vibrations,” presents a significant challenge known as the coherence problem.

To maintain the delicate quantum state, Keith stresses the importance of cryogenic strategies.

“All efforts to build an isolated environment revolve around the cryogenic strategy,” he said. The most common approach involves “surround[ing] a qubit processor with a dilution refrigerator,” which uses liquid helium to achieve temperatures below 1 Kelvin.

Despite these efforts, Keith noted that “the single biggest downside of these refrigerators [is] that they introduce tremendous amounts of vibration into the system.” This vibration can collapse the quantum state, rendering the qubits useless.

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“The floor will then vibrate, so the refrigerator structure which is mounted to the ground will still be seeing the diverted vibration through the floor,” Keith explained.

To address this issue, TMC offers various vibration isolation solutions, tailored to the specific frequency ranges and environmental conditions.

“If the floor has low-frequency vibration from half Hertz to 100 Hertz, then TMC’s Stasis Quiet Island can help,” said Keith. “For higher frequencies, “we can supply a honeycomb Optical top” and “gimbal piston air isolators.”

By recognizing the critical role of vibration isolation in preserving the quantum state, companies like TMC are paving the way for the practical realization of quantum computing’s vast potential.

James Dargan

James Dargan is a writer and researcher at The Quantum Insider. His focus is on the QC startup ecosystem and he writes articles on the space that have a tone accessible to the average reader.

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