Mar 6, 2023

An innovative twist: Tubular nanomaterial of carbon makes ideal home for spinning quantum bits

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, quantum physics

Scientists are vigorously competing to transform the counterintuitive discoveries about the quantum realm from a century past into technologies of the future. The building block in these technologies is the quantum bit, or qubit. Several different kinds are under development, including ones that use defects within the symmetrical structures of diamond and silicon. They may one day transform computing, accelerate drug discovery, generate unhackable networks and more.

Working with researchers from several universities, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a method for introducing spinning electrons as qubits in a host nanomaterial. Their test results revealed record long coherence times—the key property for any practical qubit because it defines the number of quantum operations that can be performed in the lifetime of the qubit.

Electrons have a property analogous to the spin of a top, with a key difference. When tops spin in place, they can rotate to the right or left. Electrons can behave as though they were rotating in both directions at the same time. This is a quantum feature called superposition. Being in two states at the same time makes electrons good candidates for spin qubits.

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