Manufacturing quantum computers

Sherry Mayo scmayo at
Sun Oct 2 21:16:56 PDT 1994


Hi all,

Regarding the quantum cryptography thread: Some people expressed the
view that although the idea may be workable, the manufacturing technology
was a long way of being able to produce quantum computers.
The quantum dot design proposed by Eckert et al for a quantum "factorisation
engine" requires 100000 quantum dots (to factorise RSA-129 or similar)
which are each about 10nm across to be fairly densly packed onto a 
chip. I'm not so sure about this being 'a long way off' in terms of materials
technology, and I found the following article on WWW which describes some
relevant research into this kind of manufacturing at a US army research
centre. I found this on the FedWorld (US Govt, )

Part of the "unique ARL (Army Research Lab) facilities" page
Ultralithography Center.

This facility provides the Army
and DoD with a capability that significantly
impacts the development of novel ultra-submicron
electronic device technology required by
next-generation and future military systems. A
multi-million-dollar Leica (Philips) EBPG-5HR
electron-beam lithography system, which represents
the state of the art in ultra-high-resolution
device patterning, is housed in a newly
constructed clean room. The Leica EBPG-5HR
accomplishes lithography by scanning a finely
focused beam of high-energy electrons over an
electron-sensitive polymer coating applied to the
substrate surface. With an electron beam spot size
approaching 10 nm, the Leica EBPG-5HR provides an
effective solution to the most demanding
lithographic applications, including ultra-small
(250 angstrom [= 25nm]) electronic and photonic devices.
These devices will provide an enabling foundation
for next-generation Army electronic and
optoelectronic systems. Devices such as sub-100-nm
gate length millimeter-wave high-electron-
mobility transistors (HEMTs), novel quantum-effect
and mesoscopic (phase-preserving) devices, and
quantum-well infrared photo-detectors are
patterned with this system. The instrument's high
acceleration voltage (100kV) provides a unique
capability to pattern closely spaced
nanometer-scale device features without feature or
sample- related distortion. Automated calibration
permits the writing of undistorted patterns over
the large sample areas required to fabricate many
photonic devices and optoelectronic circuits.


Well there you go. Perhaps the technology is nearer than we
think. Of course this still doesn't answer the
noise problem that critics of the proposed technique think will
render it all but useless. However I wanted to make the point
that we shouldn't be complacent about the materials technology
side of things.

Tim May makes the point that he is not selling his shares in intel,
and that conventional chip technology is not about to be supplanted.
The problem with this IMHO is that these are not two completely
different technologies we are talking about. The constantly improving
techniques being used to cram more and more onto conventional chips 
are directly applicable to the manufacture of these proposed quantum
dot devices.

Just my 2 cents


Sheridan C. Mayo         | WWW pages include caving, sci fi and   
RSC, ANU, Australia      | crypto pages. NEW: X-files has its own
scmayo at | page with gifs/sounds/fanfic etc.
Finger for PGP key       |

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