Open source RF control system enhances quantum computers

Open source RF control system enhances quantum computers

Technology News |
By Rich Pell

The growth in the complexity and computing power of quantum computers, say the researchers, requires a rethinking of certain core control elements. Quantum computers continue to be noisy and error prone, with each additional qubit introducing new layers of complexity and possibilities for electrical failure, especially at room temperature.

Traditional RF control systems use analog circuits to control superconducting qubits, which can become bulky and overwhelmingly complex, thus serving as a potential point of failure and increasing the costs for hardware control. Addressing this, the researchers, built a series of compact RF modules that interactively mix signals to improve the reliability of control systems for superconducting quantum processors.

Their tests, say the researchers, proved that using modular design methods reduces the cost and size of traditional RF control systems while still delivering superior or comparable performance levels to those commercially available. A key aspect of this modular system is delivering high-resolution, low-noise RF signals needed to manipulate and measure the superconducting qubit at room temperature.

To do so, say the researchers, it’s important to shift the qubit manipulation and measurement signal frequency between the electronics baseband and the quantum system.

“The new module exhibits low-noise, high-reliability operation and is now becoming our laboratory standard for microwave frequency modulation/demodulation across many different experimental configurations in AQT,” says Gang Huang, an Advanced Quantum Testbed (AQT) researcher at Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division (ATAP).

Using the low-noise RF mixing module to shift the bandwidth with a limited intermediate frequency between the electronics baseband and the quantum system intrinsic band allows the researchers to utilize less noisy converters for better performance and at a lower cost. While the system was designed for superconducting systems, say the researchers, it could be expanded to other quantum information science platforms.

“In general, the architecture of RF mixing can be expanded to higher frequencies,” say the researchers. “Therefore, if we replace some electronic components with appropriate frequency, this kind of compact design should be able to adapt to the other qubit platforms, i.e., semiconductor qubit systems.”

The researchers also designed electromagnetic interference shielding to eliminate undesired perturbations, which reduce signal integrity and limit overall performance. This shielding aims to prevent the signal from leaking out and interfering with surrounding electronics – a common problem for quantum computers.

This research is open source and has been adopted by other quantum information science (QIS) groups. With the release of a control system that is open source, say the researchers, they hope that the broader community uses and contributes to the repository, improving the hardware. By replacing a few electronic components with appropriate frequency, this kind of compact design may adapt to a variety of quantum computing facilities.

“This is one of our first efforts to develop an open source control system for superconducting quantum processors,” says Huang. “We will continue to optimize the physical size and cost of the module and further integrate with our FPGA-based controller to improve the extensibility of the qubit control system.”

Looking ahead, the researchers say they are already building on these efforts to create new possibilities in quantum computing and offer a new technology to control qubits. They expect such integration and optimization will help room-temperature-based control systems keep pace with advancements in the complexity of quantum processors.

For more, see “Radio frequency mixing modules for superconducting qubit room temperature control system.”

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Related articles:
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High-fidelity ‘hot’ qubits promise practical quantum systems
Intel debuts 2nd-gen cryogenic quantum computing control chip
AI ‘auto-tunes’ quantum dots for use as qubits
Quantum computing at room temps moves closer to reality


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