IBM’s ‘super-fridge’ to cool quantum computers

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IBM’s ‘super-fridge’ to cool quantum computers

The quantum computers are not ordinary computers. The proof ? They have among other things need extremely low ambient temperature to work. The company IBM got it right and she made a huge “super fridge” which can cool objects to temperatures lower than those that can be measured in space. The super-fridge is codenamed Project Goldeneye.

It is thanks to their ability to use the properties of quantum physics that quantum computers manage to reach unparalleled speeds and powers. For instance, the principle of superpositionaccording to which particles can exist in two states at the same time, allows to simultaneously process large amounts of data. However, these states are very sensitive to interference from the environment, including heat. Because of this, quantum experiments and computers need cryogenic temperatures.


IBM's super fridge
Credits Connie Zhou/IBM

We are talking here about temperatures higher than the absolute zero, but by a fraction of a degree. When the temperature reaches absolute zero, the atoms have almost no energy left.

The system developed by IBM

The Goldeneye refrigerator is part of what is called dilution refrigerators. These use a mixture of helium-3 and helium-4 to cool their contents to a temperature of the order of the milli-Kelvinthat is, thousandths of a degree above absolute zero.

Goldeneye has differences from existing dilution refrigerators. It has an experimental volume of 1.7 m3, which is 2-3 times bigger than previous models. The refrigerator is also modular and has a clamshell design that allows the external vacuum chamber to open laterally. This gives scientists easy access to the material inside.

With Goldeneye, you can use different cooling units that cool at different temperatures. It weighs over 6 tons, helping to reduce vibrations that can interfere with quantum experiments. But the most important point is that the space it occupies is one tenth of the space occupied by existing dilution refrigerators.

Test results

During testing, IBM’s super-fridge was capable of cooling down to a temperature of 25 mKwhich is 1000 times colder than the average temperature in space. The company’s team tested the system with a quantum chip that the scientists placed in the device. They were able to get a coherence time of 450 microseconds. This is the length of time qubits retain their information.

Although the test results are satisfactory, IBM has indicated that Goldeneye will not be used as it is now to cool quantum computers. However, the concepts they tested will be used for the development of the next generation of cooling systems.

SOURCE: newatlas

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