Graphene Quantum Dots in Quantum Computing

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

In conventional computing, bits of information (atoms, ions, photons, or electrons depending on the machine) are processed and read in binary code (0 or 1), which is in turn translated through a Arithmetic/Logic Program into an action. An Arithmetic/Logic Program can only manipulate the inputted information through addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or comparison, and would be unable to perform higher learning functions such as photo or language recognition [4]. With Quantum computing, bits of information can exist in a superposition state, in which they are simultaneously 0, 1, and all possible values in between, known as qubits [1]. Instead of an Arithmetic/Logic Program, quantum computing uses an Energy Program to configure the best possible combination of 0’s and 1’s and then assign these states to the bits of information to produce instructions. Rather than attempting to optimize a fixed set of binary values (which entail billions of possible combinations, requiring time and processing power), Quantum computing uses the Energy Program values h (value of binary bit strings) and j (value of 2 binary bit strings combined) to configure the correct output faster and without having to have “seen” the code previously [2]. 

Energy Program Equation ( 

One proposed model of Quantum Computers uses the spin of an electron in a magnetic field— either up, down, or both in a quantum state—to be translated as a 0/1 binary.The nuclei of Graphene Quantum Dots for quantum computers are nanocrystals made of semiconducting materials small enough to exhibit quantum properties. Graphene quantum dots are ideal for use in quantum computers because they do not have a spin 98% of the time, greatly decreasing a tendency to interact with the spin of neighboring atom’s nuclei that dismantles their undefined superposition state [5, 6]. While practical Quantum Computers have not yet been achieved, the creation of qubit control devices such as graphene quantum dots, ion traps, optical traps, and superconducting circuits allow computer scientists to continually improve the floating point operations per second (FLOPS) capability of Quantum Computers. To date, the most advanced Quantum Computer, by Canadian company D-Wave Systems, Inc., is a 512-qubit computer that uses a superconducting processor to perform operations such as financial analysis, optimization, and machine learning [3].

D-Wave 16 Qubit Quantum Computer ( 


  1. Bonsor, Kevin, and Jonathan Strickland.  "How Quantum Computers Work"  08 December 2000. <>  16 August 2015.
  2. Quantum Computing Primer. D-Wave Systems Inc., n.d. Web.
  3. Grillakis, Manoussos G. "On the Wave Map Problem." Nonlinear Wave Equations Contemporary Mathematics (2000): 71-84. Nov. 2013. Web.
  4. "How The Computer Works: The CPU and Memory." How The Computer Works: The CPU and Memory. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2015.
  5. "University of Wisconsin-Madison Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Interdisciplinary Education Group." Quantum Dots and Nanoparticles. National Science Foundation, 2008. Web. 16 Aug. 2015.
  6. Stampfer, C., J. Güttinger, F. Molitor, D. Graf, T. Ihn, and K. Ensslin. "Tunable Coulomb Blockade in Nanostructured Graphene." Appl. Phys. Lett. Applied Physics Letters 92.1 (2008): 012102. Web.
  7. Notargiacomo, A., V. Foglietti, E. Cianci, G. Capellini, M. Adami, P. Faraci, F. Evangelisti, and C. Nicolini. "Quantum Cellular Automata."Nanotechnology 10.4 (1999): 458-63. Web.
  8. "Quantum Computing 101." Institute for Quantum Computing. N.p., 17 May 2013. Web. 16 Aug. 2015.


Development Stage: 

Key Words: 


Benefit Summary: 

Graphene Quantum Dots possess many advantageous characteristics due to their nano sized particles, as well as unique quantum properties. Due to their small size, electrons travel shorter distances, increasing the speed of electronic devices. When excited, the energy of emitted light from Quantum Dots is higher due to their increased band gap as a result of their decreased size. This makes Quantum Dots particularly beneficial for use in LED’s and sensors, as the Quantum Dots do not degrade as quickly as other fluorescent materials [5]. Quantum properties like superposition allow for the electrons of Graphene Quantum Dots to exist in all possible states in order for the quantum computers to optimize their positon through an Energy Program. Other quantum properties of Quantum Dots include entanglement, an aspect of quantum physics that states that when an outside force is applied to an atom by a second atom, the second atom will take on the opposite spin of the first. Scientists can use this property to indirectly measure the value of an atom in a quantum computer, as otherwise “touching” the atom to directly measure it would take it out of a superposition state, defeating the purpose of the quantum computer [1]. 

Risk Summary: 

The known risks result from the quantum computing algorithms that have been discovered as a result of quantum cellular automata. Specific quantum computing algorithms, such as Shor’s Algorithm, which utilizes quantum Fourier transformations to efficiently find the factors of a number, would render most standard encryption techniques ineffective. This includes encryption techniques that are used by ecommerce businesses, enterprise systems, and governments to protect data. Although this could be used against criminals and terrorists, the technology wouldn’t be limited to governments and law enforcement. Additionally, even if the technology were limited to governments and law enforcement there are numerous privacy concerns that arise with the ability of the government to access most of the encrypted data of its citizens. A migration to other encryption techniques from modern standards would be needed. Quantum Computers would initially be very expensive to make and use which would slightly limit the amount of destabilization that would result as a migration to other encryption techniques occurred. Although not all encryption techniques will be broken, the encryption techniques that will not be broken would still be weakened. As a result, there has been a recent push to the field of post-quantum cryptography. It is important to note that these new encryption algorithms need a quantum computer for implementation and that access to a quantum computer will initially be very limited by cost so not all entities will be able to protect themselves with this stronger encryption but would all be vulnerable [7,8]. 

Risk Characterization: 

Risk Assessment: