Is there anything graphene cannot do?
The great graphene gold rush continues today with the news that graphene nanoribbon could be the key ingredient of the next generation of quantum computers.
The trick with quantum computing is to use qubit-carrying particles that are easy to manipulate so that their quibits can be written and read, that interact with each other so that the qubits can be processed in logic gates but are robust in the sense that thay do not easily interact with the environment so that data isn’t needlessly lost.
Photons are the current darlings of the quantum computing crowd because they do not interact easily with the environment and can be relatively easily manipulated themselves (although getting photons to interact with each other is hard).
But electron spins are also a good prospect because they can be easily controlled and interact readily with each other. Their downside is that it is hard to insulate them from stray magnetic and electric fields in the environment, so storing them is hard.
Now it looks as if graphene nanoribbon may come to the rescue. Guo-Ping Guo and pals from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei say that z-shaped graphene ribbons can easily store electrons in the corners of their Zs, where they can be read and written to. And by placing two Zs close to each other on a graphene strip, the electrons can also be made to interact with each other.
Materials scientists have recently worked out how to make Z-shaped graphene reliably in the lab so all the ingredients are in place for a test device to be knocked up shortly.
As Guo-Ping Guo and buddies put it: “Due to recent achievement in production of graphene nanoribbon, this proposal may be implementable within the present techniques.”
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0808.1618: Quantum computation with graphene nanoribbon