News

Aalto University research project on quantum technology awarded a seven-figure grant

The European Research Council has awarded Docent Mikko Möttönen the two-million-euro Consolidator Grant for a five-year research project.

The purpose of the project Quantum Environment Engineering for Steered Systems (QUESS) is to develop methods for the real-time control of energy loss in quantum-mechanical devices, which could enable practical applications of quantum technology. These applications include quantum computers and radiation sensors. In the future, quantum computers can potentially be used for material and drug design, as well as to radically improve the efficiency of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

"Supraconducting electric circuits have made it possible to build elementary quantum computers. Progress has been made in the fault tolerance of the devices, and a quantum annealer based on superconducting quantum bits is already commercially available. Even so, there are many basic issues related to quantum computing that we have yet to figure out, such as the accurate initialization of quantum bits, the extreme accuracy of logic operations, and the power consumption at the quantum level", Mikko Möttönen describes the challenges related to the project.

A standard digital bit is always 0 or 1. A quantum bit, i.e., a qubit, is always operated with the precision of single quantum-mechanical energy states, which makes values between 0 and 1 possible. On the other hand, these states are very sensitive to external disturbance.

If the qubits are well isolated from their environment, their quantum information is preserved for long time. Consequently however,  the qubits release energy away very slowly and therefore naturally remain hot. The cooling of the quantum state must be turned on before the computation to reset the quantum memory and turned off thereafter to avoid errors during computation. It is also important to know how much energy the logic operations on the qubits consume during the computation. Excess energy must be eliminated so that the overheating of devices can be avoided.

"If we succeed in solving these key issues that are necessary for building an efficient large-scale quantum computer, we will open a door for a major quantum revolution," he continues.

This is the second personal European grant Doc. Möttönen has been awarded for his research. The European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants are awarded to top-level researchers to help them strengthen their research team and to build a successful career in Europe. The QUESS project will be launched in the beginning of 2017. At the moment, Doc. Möttönen is working on a research project financed with the ERC Starting Grant.

"I combined the latest developments in the field of superconducting quantum computers with the methods that I learned in the course of many years at the Low Temperature Laboratory. This convinced the ERC panellists that I am doing something new and important", Möttönen says.

Doc. Möttönen has achieved significant results in the course of his research in the field of quantum phenomena. The most recent of these are experimentally and theoretically verified quantum knots and monopolies, as well as quantum-limited heat transfer.
 

Further information:

Mikko Möttönen, Docent, Dr.
Aalto University
Department of Applied Physics
[email protected]
m. +358505940950

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Related news

ARTS open science roadshow, pic of the session
Research & Art Published:

European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Finnish Forum webinar on 25th January

One of the speakers is Karel Luyben, the first president of the EOSC Association and a member of board at Aalto University.
Installation Talk 2020, Jarkko Niiranen
Research & Art Published:

Professor Jarkko Niiranen on the computational mechanics of microarchitectural solids and structures

'When developing models, we spend a lot of time on mathematical physics, numerical mathematics and computer programming, but the fundamental concepts of mechanics remain the same' says Niiranen in his installation talk.
A photo showing Dr. Dorothea Golze
Research & Art Published:

Computational physicist Dorothea Golze receives prestigious Emmy Noether Award

Dorothea Golze received funding from the German Research Foundation within the Emmy Noether Programme to establish her own junior research group at the Technical University of Dresden.
Dronen ottama kuva Otakaari 1:sestä, kuva: Mikko Raskinen
Research & Art Published:

How do you know where a drone is flying without a GPS signal?

In Jouko Kinnari's doctoral dissertation, the location of a drone can be determined using map data and sensors.