Researchers from Germany and the University of Michigan have recently demonstrated in a study that infrared laser pulses can shift electrons between two different states, 1 and 0, in a sheet of semiconductor. Their research could help make quantum computing devices, which operate millions of times faster than a conventional computer, a reality. “Ordinary electronics are in the range of gigahertz, one billion operations per second. This method is a million times faster,” said Mackillo Kira, U-M professor of electrical engineering and computer science, who led the theoretical part of the study.
Quantum computing could solve problems much more quickly and advance research in areas such as artificial intelligence and drug design. However, current quantum computers require extremely cold temperatures, making them difficult to operate for widespread, practical use. The material developed by the study is relatively easy to make, works at room temperature, and at just a few atoms thick, it is maximally compact.