August 12, 2009

Qudits : multilevel versions of Qubits

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have devised a new type of superconducting circuit that behaves quantum mechanically –– but has up to five levels of energy instead of the usual two.

He explained that in this work they operated a quantum circuit as a more complicated artificial atom with up to five energy levels. The generic term for such a system is "qudit," where ‘d' refers to the number of energy levels –– in this case, ‘d' equals five.

Emulation of a Quantum Spin with a Superconducting Phase Qudit

In quantum information processing, qudits (d-level systems) are an extension of qubits that could speed up certain computing tasks. We demonstrate the operation of a superconducting phase qudit with a number of levels d up to d = 5 and show how to manipulate and measure the qudit state, including simultaneous control of multiple transitions. We used the qudit to emulate the dynamics of single spins with principal quantum number s = 1/2, 1, and 3/2, allowing a measurement of Berry’s phase and the even parity of integer spins (and odd parity of half-integer spins) under 2-rotation. This extension of the two-level qubit to a multilevel qudit holds promise for more-complex quantum computational architectures and for richer simulations of quantum mechanical systems.

9 page pdf with supporting material

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