Engineers ensure quantum experiments get off to the right start

Research from the group of Lee Bassett in the School of Engineering and Applied Science describes a new approach for resetting and validating quantum states to reduce uncertainty in quantum computing experiments.

To reliably use quantum computing devices, researchers need to have precise knowledge about an electron’s quantum mechanical properties. However, there is a considerable amount of uncertainty inherent in measuring quantum states. This is especially impactful on researchers who are attempting to measure the starting conditions of a quantum computing experiment, where an accurate assessment of the quantum state is essential for downstream success of an experiment. 

Tzu-Yung Huang, Lee Bassett and David Hopper in the Quantum Engineering Laboratory.
Tzu-Yung Huang, Lee Bassett and David Hopper in the Quantum Engineering Laboratory. (Image: Penn Engineering)

New research from Penn’s Quantum Engineering Laboratory describes a system that can reset and validate a quantum experiment’s starting conditions. Led by engineer Lee Bassett, this new “initialization procedure” will save researchers the time and effort of rerunning experiments while also enabling new kinds of measurements that require a knowledge of a quantum state’s exact starting condition. Lab members David Hopper, Joseph Lauigan, and Tzu-Yung Huang conducted the study, which was recently published in Physical Review Applied.

“Initialization is one of the key, fundamental requirements for doing almost any kind of quantum-information processing,” Bassett says. “You need to be able to deterministically set your quantum state before you can do anything useful with it, but the dirty little secret is that, in almost all quantum architectures, that initialization is not perfect.”

Read more at Penn Engineering.