A quantum computer is a machine that performs calculations while utilizing the same physical laws that govern the behavior of particles at the sub-atomic level. If it is ever developed, a large enough quantum computer will be able to tackle a class of problems that are out of reach for current technologies. In his PhD research, Tom Manovitz works to isolate and control individual atoms, so as to better understand and utilize the quantum-mechanical behavior upon which future quantum computing may be based.
Under the supervision of Prof. Roee Ozeri in the Department of Physics of Complex Systems, Tom designed and built a system for detecting individual atomic qubits—the quantum computing corollary to the “bit” of classical computing—while still a Master’s student. In his more recent work he collaborated with Prof. Ozeri and others on engineering a quantum logic gate. This gate generates quantum entanglement—a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles cannot be described independently of the others. The logic gate, based on charged atoms (ions) affected by electrical fields in a vacuum chamber and controlled with high-precision laser light, was demonstrated in laboratory experiments and the results were recently published in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters.
Tom received his BSc in Physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as part of Amirim, an honors program that exposes students to diverse subjects in the humanities. He completed his Masters at the Weizmann Institute, where he is organizing a lecture series on the History and Philosophy of Physics. He volunteers teaching math to high school students, enjoys playing and watching basketball, and, once in a while, plays guitar.