“A quantum computer must be able to perform all the necessary functions required for a computer: perform calculations, store data, and transfer information. All of these processes can be done by manipulating the qubits. We use ions as the qubits in a quantum computer. An ion is an atom that is charged. Atoms are made up from neutrons (no charge), protons (positive charge), and electrons (negative charge). Atoms are generally uncharged, as there are usually an equal number of protons and neutrons. However when an atom has an uneven number of protons and electrons, it is said to become charged, i.e an ion. By manipulating these ions, a quantum computer can be made. However this manipulation can only be achieved under the correct conditions, these conditions are made available by using structures called “Ion Traps.” As stated, a quantum computer cannot just be created from just trapping ions, it is necessary to move the information (the ions) between different locations in a trap, for example between calculation and storage regions. Our group has developed a method which allows the means to confidently control the motion of individual ions and shuttle an ion to any position in a ion trap microchip. By developing traps that generate complex electrical fields, it is possible to push and pull the ions by varying the strength of these fields, making it possible to manipulate single ions around corners! Right now, we are in the process of developing full scale architectures that contain all the necessary features for a full scale quantum computer.”
Winfried Hensinger obtained his undergraduate degree at the Ruprechts-Karls University in Heidelberg, Germany and then moved to the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia to complete a Master’s degree. Subsequently he obtained his PhD at the University of Queensland under guidance of Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Norman Heckenberg, and Gerard Milburn in the field of experimental nonlinear quantum dynamics with ultra-cold atoms. During his PhD candidature he spent an extended period at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland in the group of Nobel Laureate William Phillips where he demonstrated dynamical tunneling in a sodium Bose-Einstein condensate. After completing his PhD he spent three years as a FOCUS Research Fellow in the group of Chris Monroe at the University of Michigan developing ways to scale ion trap quantum information processing. In 2005, he moved to the University of Sussex, UK, where he is now Professor of Quantum Technologies. Hensinger heads the Sussex Ion Quantum Technology Group and he is the Director of the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies. Hensinger’s group works on constructing a trapped-ion quantum computer demonstrator device, a quantum simulation engine, as well as portable quantum sensors in collaboration with a number of academic and industrial partners.