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Quantum computer and molecular electronics: two sides of the same coin

Manfred Weick

Siemens AG, Corporate Technology Department
This is an abstract for a poster to be presented at the Fifth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.

There will be a link from here to the full article when it is available on the web.

Keywords: Molecular electronics, molecular rectifier, quantum computation, quantum computer, information processing at the molecular level


Molecular electronics-based computation has attracted interest because the ultimate computational system would consist of logic devices that are ultra dense, ultra fast, and molecular-sized (PETT95, TERM97). One objective of current research is the fabrication and characterization of a molecular rectifier based on a single molecule (UEYA91, FISC94).

Molecular electronics is an interdisciplinary field, more than the most other ones, because knowledge is required from biology, chemistry, computer science and physics. Quantum-effect devices, which exploit the wave-like properties of electrons at the atomic level, are the subject of intense research at universities and corporate research institutes. That is because physics predicts quantum-effect devices should switch many hundreds of times faster, and consume much less energy, than today's transistors.

This paper gives an overview of the relations between quantum computer and molecular electronics. It also proposes some ideas for applications on such a new kind of computer.


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FISC94 Fischer, C. M., Burghard, M., Roth, S., and Klitzing, K. von: Organic Quantum Wells: Molecular Rectification and Single -Electron Tunneling. Europhysics Letters 28, No. 2, 1994, 129-134.

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GERS97 Gershenfeld, N. A. and Chuang, I. L.: Bulk Spin-Resonance Quantum Computation. Science 275, No. 5298, 1997, 350-356.

GIMZ96a Gimzewski, J. K., Jung, T. A., Cubers, M. T., and Schlittler, R. R.: Scanning Tunneling Microscopy of Individual Molecules: Beyond Imaging. Technical Report, IBM Research Division, Zurich Research Laboratory, Ruschlikon, Switzerland, 2. 12. 1996.

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SHOR94 Shor, P. W.: Algorithms for Quantum Computation: Discrete Logarithms and Factoring. In: Proceedings of the 35th Annual Symposium on Foundation of Computer Science, Santa Fe, New Mexico, November 20-22, 1994, IEEE Computer Society Press, pp. 124-134.

SLEA96 Sleator, T. and Weinfurter, H.: Realizable Universal Quantum Logic Gates. Physical Review Letters 74, No. 20, 1996, 4087-4090.

TAUB97 Taubes, G.: Putting a Quantum Computer To Work in a Cup of Coffee. Science 275, No. 5298, 1997, 307-308.

TERM97 Terman, L. M.: The impact of device scaling limits. Applied Surface Science 117/118, 1997, 1-10.

UEYA91 Ueyama, S., Kawakubo, H., Isoda, S., and Maeda, M.: Electronic device. United States Patent, Patent No. 5.010.451, April 23, 1991.

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*Corresponding Address:
Manfred Weick, Siemens AG, Corporate Technology Department
Otto-Hahn-Ring 6, D-81739, Munich
telephone: +49 89 636-48028 fax: +49 89 636-45450
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