Science meets Engineering: Design and Realization of the Quantum Scientific Computing Open User Testbed (QSCOUT)
Engineering is the key discipline that will transform quantum computation devices from scientific experiments to devices capable of realizing the exciting computational benefits predicted for quantum computers. Among the most interesting applications are variational algorithms to simulate molecular potentials with far-reaching implications for the design and realization of catalytic conversion, quantum approximate optimization algorithms and, more generally, quantum simulation to gain a deeper understanding of quantum phenomena and processes.
Trapped ion systems are the leading candidate for realizing quantum computation due to their indistinguishability, high-fidelity gate operations, qubit connectivity, and routes to scalability. Harnessing these advantages, we are developing the Quantum Scientific Computing Open User Testbed (QSCOUT), a trapped-ion based quantum information processor with low-level access that will be available to the scientific community. Here, I will present advances in the design, fabrication and testing of scalable microfabricated ion traps, which form the core of such a processor, as well as the systems engineering approach taken to realize the testbed. Our realization and characterization of single and two-qubit gates in scalable microfabricated ion traps demonstrate the capabilities of these devices as well as the need for advanced engineering approaches to control context and time dependencies in classical control of quantum operations.