Researchers at IQM, Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have engineered a fast and ultra-sensitive nanoscale bolometer that detects very faint microwave radiation. In fact, the radiation detected is so weak that heating up a cup of coffee at room temperature, for 1°C in a microwave oven would have taken 50 septillion times more energy. That is a 5 followed by 25 zeroes.
The new bolometer can measure the energy of photons much more accurately and faster than before. This is essential for quantum computers, since measuring the energy of qubits, the quantum bits, is an integral part of quantum algorithms. Moreover, the device is small and readily integrable into superconducting quantum processors, providing a clear path towards real-world applications.
In quantum computers such as the ones developed at IQM, this detector technology could prove very useful in replacing conventional readers and enabling the scaling up of future quantum processors due to its relatively small size.
The paper has been published in Nature.