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A new strategy to implement a high-fidelity mixed-species entangling gate

In recent years, research teams worldwide have been trying to create trapped ion quantum computers, which have so far proved to be among the most promising systems for practical quantum computing implementations. In these computers, trapped ions serve as quantum bits that are entangled in order to perform advanced computations.

On a quest to develop scalable trapped ion quantum computers, researchers at the University of Oxford have recently implemented a two-qubit entangling gate between two distinct atomic elements, calcium and strontium. In their study, featured in Physical Review Letters, they used a gate mechanism that requires only a single laser, which they had previously tested on two different calcium isotopes.

One of the greatest challenges in the development of trapped ion quantum computers is scalability (i.e., finding ways to apply approaches that achieved promising results on a few qubits to thousands or even millions of qubits). In fact, simply adding new qubits to a quantum computing system often results in a rapid decrease in performance, as it introduces new errors and makes it harder to interact with a single qubit without affecting some of the others.

To overcome this challenge, the research team at University of Oxford used two methods known as modularization and optical networking. Essentially, their goal was to have ions in separate ion traps and vacuum systems, which are only connected through optical fibers.

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