Global Sources
EE Times-India
Stay in touch with EE Times India
EE Times-India > FPGAs/PLDs

NIST develops quantum physics' ARTIQ

Posted: 08 Dec 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ARTIQ  quantum computing  open sources 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) remains active in developing technologies for quantum computing and improving direct digital synthesisers (DDS) for many applications such as telecommunications technology and standards.

Recently I toured some of the laboratories of NIST's Ion Storage Group and viewed some of their developments, including ARTIQ. ARTIQ (Advanced Real-Time Infrastructure for Quantum physics), a new communications protocol being developed by the Ion Storage Group at NIST, is an open-source control system for laser-cooled trapped ion experiments.

I spoke with Sébastien Bourdeauducq, director and founder of m-labs—the prime contractor for ARTIQ—about some goals the project aimed to achieve. In an exclusive interview for EE Times he said, "the main goal is a control system that has both high expressivity (you can describe complex experiments with few lines of code) and high timing performance... It's a middle ground between running the control algorithms on a PC, which has high level programming language but bad timing performance, and running the control algorithms on a dedicated FPGA design, which has excellent timing performance but is a pain to program."

The system features a high-level programming language that helps describe complex experiments, which is compiled and executed on hardware with nanosecond timing resolution and sub-microsecond latency. The system and procedure utilise various hardware technologies and programming languages such as Python, Migen, MiSoC/mor1kx,LLVM and llvmpy.

Here are photos of the laboratories and technologies utilising ARTIQ at NIST.

Ion trap

(Source: NIST)

An ion trap is a combination of electric or magnetic fields used to capture charged particles in a vacuum. Ion traps have a number of scientific uses such as mass spectrometry, physics research and controlling quantum states. The two most common types of ion trap are the Penning trap and the RF (Paul) trap (quadrupole ion trap).

The team at NIST uses both Penning and Paul traps, and ARTIQ will help with timing and other difficult problems that arise during experiments.


(Source: m-labs)

ARTIQ is being used in four laboratories at NIST, in two ion trap quantum computing experiment labs, the atomic clock lab and Penning trap lab.

 HP/Agilent Electronic Synthesiser 3335A

HP/Agilent Electronic Synthesiser 3335A

An old HP/Agilent Electronic Synthesiser 3335A sits to the side of the lab as it is being replaced with smaller, less-expensive, highly portable DDS boards. The HP 3335A Synthesiser/Level Generator are generally used for telecommunications as well as for traditional synthesiser applications, including testing of Frequency Division Multiplex (FDM) equipment and research and development, and production testing of communications systems. ARTIQ will be utilising smaller, less-cumbersome DDS boards.

 AD9914 DDS card

This AD9914 DDS card is an evaluation board from the chipmaker arrow.

It is being used to experiment/prototype a DDS system for ARTIQ. The DDS is used to generate signals that control a number of devices in the experiments—e.g. lasers through acousto-optic modulators (AOMs) and microwave generators. The ARTIQ team needs to build an array of those chips, synchronise them (which Sébastien tells me isn't all that easy) and hook them up to the FPGA that runs ARTIQ.

1 • 2 Next Page Last Page

Comment on "NIST develops quantum physics' ARTIQ"
*  You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.


Go to top             Connect on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter      Follow us on Orkut

Back to Top