Feeds

QUANTUM COMPUTER in WORLD RECORD qubit stunner

It's a bit more than just one or zero

Boost IT visibility and business value

Researchers have managed to store data in a qubit – a quantum computer's binary bit – and maintain it in a superposition state, where ones and zeros exist simultaneously, for 39 minutes, beating the previous record of just a few seconds.

qubit

Hot stuff! What an artist reckons a qubit looks like

"This opens up the possibility of truly long-term coherent information storage at room temperature," said Mike Thewalt of Canada's Simon Fraser University.

The international team prepared a nuclei of phosphorus atoms in silicon and then slowly raised the temperature around the unit from the -269°C typically needed to get the thing work, all the way up to a human-friendly 25°C.

They found they were able to manipulate the information at room temperature before the qubit finally burned itself out, over half an hour later according to a paper published in hefty boffinry mag Science.

"39 minutes may not seem very long but as it only takes one-hundred-thousandth of a second to flip the nuclear spin of a phosphorus ion – the type of operation used to run quantum calculations – in theory over 20 million operations could be applied in the time it takes for the superposition to naturally decay by one percent," said Stephanie Simmons of Oxford University's department of Materials.

"Having such robust, as well as long-lived, qubits could prove very helpful for anyone trying to build a quantum computer."

The qubit used doped silicon, with the information stored in the 10 billion nuclei of the phosphorus. It's not perfect, since only 37 per cent of the nuclei retained information and they can't be individually manipulated, but the breakthrough opens up a new avenue to getting quantum computing off the drawing board and into a workable system.

"These lifetimes are at least ten times longer than those measured in previous experiments," said Simmons. "We've managed to identify a system that seems to have basically no noise. They're high-performance qubits. To have them controllably talking to one another – that would address the last big remaining challenge." ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.