NEC Corporation announced today that Yasunobu Nakamura and Jaw-Shen Tsai, key members of NEC's Nano Electronics Research Laboratories, have been jointly awarded with the 2008 Simon Memorial Prize for their contributions to the development of low temperature physics. The prize will be awarded at the opening ceremonies of the 25th International Conference on Low Temperature Physics held in Amsterdam, Holland in August.
Tsai (concurrently laboratory head at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, Emergent Materials Department, Single Quantum Dynamics Research Group, Macroscopic Quantum Coherence Team) and Nakamura (concurrently a visiting scientist with the same Macroscopic Quantum Coherence Team) are being recognized for their research on the behavior of superconducting electronic devices in relation to quantum bits (qubits), which are essential hardware components for machines of the future that will run software using quantum computer algorithms. Once built, quantum computers are expected to quickly and easily solve a variety of problems that conventional computers cannot. Parts of their ongoing research are also being supported by the JST CREST Program* "Superconducting Quantum Bit System."
Tsai is scheduled to deliver a lecture at the conference, where he will outline further details surrounding the pair's 1999 discoveries and the progress that has followed since.
"Yasunobu Nakamura and Jaw-Shen Tsai are outstanding experimental physicists, and they were selected from a very strong list of nominations," said Phil Meeson, chair of the selection panel for the 2008 prize. "They were the first to show that quantum coherence could be displayed in a superconducting device, opening the way to a completely new solid-state quantum computer architecture and a new regime in which to test quantum mechanics. These results had been long sought by physicists and must rank as one of the greatest achievements in physics of recent years. Nakamura and Tsai redefined the research programs of many top research groups worldwide. Since the first results on this emerged from this group in the late 1990's they have remained leaders in the field and have gone on to provide a number of further very significant results."