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Quantum state world record smashed
Date:11/15/2013

A normally fragile quantum state has been shown to survive at room temperature for a world record 39 minutes, overcoming a key barrier towards building ultrafast quantum computers. The research, published in the journal Science, was led by Mike Thewalt (Simon Fraser University, Canada), with involvement from researchers at UCL and Oxford University, and material provided from collaborating institutes in Berlin.

In conventional computers data is stored as a string of 1s and 0s. In the experiment quantum bits of information, known as qubits, were put into a state of superposition in which they can be both 1s and 0 at the same time enabling them to perform multiple calculations simultaneously. This is normally only possible at very low temperatures.

In the experiment the team used a system in which silicon is 'doped' with phosphorus atoms, and information is encoded in the phosphorus atoms' nuclei. Raising the temperature from -269 C to 25 C, the scientists discovered that the superposition states survived at this balmy temperature for 39 minutes. Outside of silicon the previous record for such a state's survival at room temperature was around two seconds.

"For a few years we've known that the nuclear spins for dopant atoms in silicon can be used as a long-lived memory for electron spins, a bit like a computer's hard disk," says UCL's John Morton (London Centre for Nanotechnology), a co-author of the research. "This work shows that removing the electron away from the dopant atom allows the information in the nuclear spin to live even longer as long as three hours."

The team even found that they could manipulate the qubits as the temperature of the system rose, and that they were robust enough for this information to survive being 'refrozen' (the optical technique used to read the qubits only works at very low temperatures). 39 minutes may not sound particularly long, but since it only takes a tiny fraction of a second to run quantum comp
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Contact: Oli Usher
o.usher@ucl.ac.uk
44-020-767-97964
University College London
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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