Quantum computers are known for being able to solve complex
problems in far less time than traditional computers. Cracking encryptions
could be one area in which quantum computers excel.
By using pulses of light to dramatically accelerate quantum
computers, University of Michigan researchers said that they have made strides
in technology that could foil national and personal security threats. It's a
leap, they say, that could lead to tougher protections of information and
quicker deciphering of hackers' encryption codes.
Optically driven quantum computers can crack highly
encrypted codes in seconds. The fastest of today's desktop computers would
require 20 years.
The researchers used short, coherent pulses of light to
create light-matter interactions in quantum dots — particles so small that the
addition or deletion of electrons changes their properties. They found they
could control the frequency and phase shifts in the optical network, which is
crucial in powering an optically driven quantum computer, noted researcher Duncan
"Quantum computers are capable of massive parallel
computations," Steel said. "That's why these machines are so
"We're particularly excited about our findings because
they show that we can achieve these results by using quantum dots and readily
available, relatively inexpensive optical telecommunications technology to
drive quantum computers," Steel added. "Quantum dots replace
transistors in these computers, and our results show that it only takes a few
billionths of a watt to drive it."
The paper on the results of this research, "Coherent
Optical Spectroscopy of a Strongly Driven Quantum Dot," appears in the
August 17 issue of Science.