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Physicists have built one of the first basic elements of a trapped Rydberg ion quantum computer: a single-qubit Rydberg gate. The achievement illustrates the feasibility of building this new type of quantum computer, which has the potential to overcome the scalability problems facing current approaches to quantum computing.

The physicists, Gerard Higgins, Markus Hennrich, and their coauthors at Stockholm University and the University of Innsbruck, have published a paper on their results with single trapped Rydberg ions in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

Currently, one of the biggest challenges facing quantum computers is scaling up the number of entangled qubits used in each logic gate, which is essential for practical . Scaling is so difficult in part because the multiqubit  commonly used in trapped ion systems suffer from the problem of "spectral crowding" as the number of qubits increases. However, trapped Rydberg ion systems are immune to spectral crowding, which raises the possibility that quantum computers made from trapped Rydberg ion qubits may offer a new route to realizing scalable quantum computers.

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