China's first 'refrigerator' for quantum chips put into use to ensure smooth operation
Published: Mar 16, 2023 10:44 PM
Photo: Screenshot of video from Science and Technology Daily

Photo: Screenshot of video from Science and Technology Daily

China's first "refrigerator for quantum chips" has been put into use to maintain a stable environment and enable the smooth operation of quantum chips, scientists revealed on Wednesday.

The "refrigerator," actually a high-vacuum box, has three cavities for storage and each can be controlled separately.

A smart system monitors the cavities in real time to maintain a high-vacuum state, according to a statement by the developer of the device, Origin Quantum Computing Technology Co, which is based in East China's Anhui Province.

A human-computer interaction function guarantees automated operation of the device, read the statement.

The Global Times learned from Origin Quantum that compared with a classic integrated circuit, a quantum chip requires a more complicated manufacturing process. Temperatures and conditions in the chip's environment, such as noise, vibration, electromagnetic waves and even super-small particles, would have an impact on the quantum chip.

If the strict environmental conditions are not maintained, superconducting materials can easily react chemically with oxygen and water vapor in the air, absorbing various impurities. As a result, the key components of the chip may fail to burn in and would not function correctly.

Scientists have compared the burn-in process with "food going bad" in the air and dubbed the high-vacuum box as a "refrigerator for quantum chips."

Quantum chips are the "brains" of quantum computers, which use quantum mechanics to perform certain computations far more efficiently than a regular computer.

Although the general public is mostly unfamiliar with quantum computers and their capabilities, the Spring Festival box office hit The Wandering Earth II offered a fictional opportunity for people to comprehend the immense computing power these machines possess.