In the past, a mechanical analogue computer as large as the size of a small classroom was used to carry out complex scientific calculations. The speed of its single mathematical operation is no more than a few times a second. Today, all the operations are outperformed by a small handheld device in terms of both speed and power consumption. The key to the handheld’s efficiency lies in the miniaturization of a unit accounted for the mathematical operations, a logic gate. In modern devices, the size of the logic gates is on the order of tens of nanometer. Likely, the size of a logic gate will commonly be a single ion or a single neutral atom in the near future. At this level, not only the gate gain efficiency from miniaturization, fundamentally quantum mechanics can boost a significant leap in computing efficiency for a specific type of problems compared to its classical counterpart. For our experiment, we focus on constructing a quantum logic gate via quantum superposition of electronic and vibrational states of neutral atoms in a one dimensional periodic optical potential formed by a standing wave of laser light.

Magneto-Optical Trap

Single Atoms Trapping (animation)