Quantum Computers May Be A Possibility With This New, 10 Times More Stable Quantum Bit Created By Researchers
We have entered an era where building reliable quantum computer will be a lot easier. Thanks to the efforts of scientists in Australia who have developed a quantum bit that is 10 times more stable than any of the already existing technologies. This means that we can vastly expand the kinds of ultra-fast calculations that quantum computer can perform. The conventional computer processes information that is recorded in binary bits which can only take the value of either 0 or 1. Whereas, quantum computers use quantum bits (also referred to as qubits) which can take either the value 0, 1 or a superposition that can be both at the same time.
The new “dressed” qubit is a lot more stable than previous “undressed” ones
Researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) developed this qubit and called it a “dressed” quantum bit because “they combined they combined the single atom at its heart with an electromagnetic field.” While doing this the researchers were able to keep the qubits in both states simultaneously for 10 times longer than any previous recorded efforts. This extra time is essential and could make calculations related to quantum computing a whole lot easier and more stable.
"We have created a new quantum bit where the spin of a single electron is merged together with a strong electromagnetic field," says researcher Arne Laucht.
"This quantum bit is more versatile and more long-lived than the electron alone, and will allow us to build more reliable quantum computers."
Quantum computers as we all know are hyped about being super-fast and extremely more powerful than computers we have today. They are said to have processing speeds up to hundreds of millions of times faster than the conventional computer. But the biggest problem in creating these computers is the superposition phenomenon itself. The biggest strength of these computers is the superposition itself, the ability of these computers’ information to occupy both the states 0 and 1 simultaneously is what is thought to give rise to an incredible speed in calculations.
But sadly the biggest strength is also the biggest weakness for the technology because the superposition is very short spanned and is extremely fragile. This has made life difficult for scientists for a long time now and that is why we haven’t been able to utilize the power of these computers.
"The greatest hurdle in using quantum objects for computing is to preserve their delicate superpositions long enough to allow us to perform useful calculations,"says one of the team, Andrea Morello.
The extended life is still short-lived if compared to the human perspective
The researchers were able to extend the time span of the superposition phenomenon 10 times longer by subjecting the atom in silicon to a constantly oscillating strong electromagnetic field at microwave frequencies. This made sure that the new “dressed” qubit was preserved 10 times longer than the standard qubit. The extended life of the qubit is still not very long if compared to our own perspective, at just 2.4 milliseconds. But that is enough time to carry out more operations in a quantum computer than ever previously thought possible. With increased time-span the electromagnetic field also gave the scientists a lot more manipulative power on the qubit.
"This new 'dressed qubit' can be controlled in a variety of ways that would be impractical with an 'undressed qubit'," says Morello. "For example, it can be controlled by simply modulating the frequency of the microwave field, just like in an FM radio."
"In some sense, this is why the dressed qubit is more immune to noise," he adds. "[T]he quantum information is controlled by the frequency, which is rock-solid, whereas the amplitude can be more easily affected by external noise."
We are still very far away from these powerful computers becoming a reality, before you start thinking of Google’s simulation of a quantum computer focus on the word “powerful” because not everyone is convinced that Google’s effort of replicating a quantum computer is as powerful as a real quantum computer would be.
We still have to wait, but the wait will be worth it
One thing is for sure, when quantum computers do arrive the new “dressed” qubit technique will sure work just as silicon chips are used today and this technique will probably be more refined by then. We still have to wait but I am sure the wait will be worth it.
"This result gives us a new tool to create a powerful and reliable quantum processor in silicon," says Laucht, "using standard fabrication methods as used for everyday computers."
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