BGSU student’s research shows how quantum computing will change our world

By Brandon Long, Special to the Sentinel-Tribune

Mayokun Joshua Ayodele is a PhD student at Bowling Green State University.

J.D. Pooley | Sentinel-Tribune

Subatomic particles offer an unusual opportunity to encode information due to their indeterminate physical states. How to properly integrate these subatomic particles into computer and information science is the project of a doctoral student at Bowling Green State University.

“Electrons are candidates that can be used as quantum bits. Also simplified as qubits,” said Mayokun Joshua Ayodele.

“Classical computers are based on bits. The classical bits are zero and one and a combination of these can be used to represent a set of information. Qubits candidates must be a two-state system, and the electron does have that. Up and down spin,” he said.

Electron spins are like mini-magnets governed by quantum mechanics, with up spin and down spin which are the two spin states electrons can have. Other subatomic particles can be used as qubits, such as photons and even nuclei.

“Superposition state is where the electron’s spin can be up and down at the same time and the result being an indefinite physical state. Qubits can be zero and one at the same time. This allows you to exponentially increase the amount of information that can be represented. It’s just like having your cake and eating it at the same time,” Ayodele said.

Quantum computing will fundamentally change our world just by the sheer amount of computation that will be possible, he said. Further, indeterminacy is a new concept that could be integrated into cybersecurity.

“Just imagine a place where you have your password saved,” Ayodele said. “And that password can’t be compromised because it is not definite, because you are basing that computing on quantum computing, so it’s like it’s flipping constantly.”

The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016. The cost of election interference perhaps can’t be put into monetary terms, but advances in cybersecurity would save billions of dollars.

“There is still a lot of work to be done in this field,” Ayodele said. “The boom started maybe like the last five years. Everybody is trying to race for what’s called quantum supremacy. Most developed nations, particularly China and the U.S.”

Ayodele who works in the Malcolm Forbes lab at BGSU recently published a paper in the highly respected Journal of the American Chemical Society. Ayodele, his lab, and a coordinating UCLA lab were able to publish in this journal because the use of organic qubits and variable distancing has largely been unexamined in quantum computing before.

“So, by basing this on organics we are trying to prevent the decay of super position states.”

Metals are poor materials for frameworks for quantum computing because their quantum states decay faster than organic-based frameworks. This is bad for quantum computing because this would lead to the deletion of information.

“So, you really want to isolate them as much as possible, right? And so that you retain the superposition states for longer time periods.”

Precise spacing is also important for quantum computing because subatomic particles interact with neighboring particles. This is necessary to achieve entanglement a prerequisite for quantum computing applications. Ayodele and his lab and collaborators are hopeful that their lattice-like framework based on organics will mitigate or slow down electron superposition decay, and thus preserve information encoded with them.

“It’s a really novel design,” Ayodele said. “This framework is being sandwiched by some 2-dimensional planes. So, it’s a well-defined area. This will allow us to control and the ability to control is always very important in science. We can control the distance so it’s not very chaotic.”

After graduating this year, Ayodele plans on continuing research on advancing quantum computing, either in the academic or private sector, where he will work to perfect material design for quantum computing applications.