Qubit Read with ElectronicsCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 20, 2012 05:36PM
Many things in quantum mechanics can be difficult to imagine, but ironically, those same phenomenon often only persist for less time than it takes to imagine them anyway. This is because the quantum states involved are very sensitive to the environment, which makes creating technologies based on them, such as quantum computers, quite difficult. Now researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have successfully read the state of a quantum bit using simple electrodes.
The key to this was using a magnetic molecule complex which holds a magnetic atom within organic molecules to block magnetic fields. This allows one to control how much influence the environment has on the magnetic atom, which in this case was a terbium atom. The researchers placed this between two electrodes and when they put a potential between them, the current was affected by the spin of the atom's nucleus. With an external magnetic field, the researchers then flipped the spin of the atom and recorded the change in current it produced. Importantly, the researchers also found that the spin state was stable for 20 seconds, which is very long for a quantum mechanical process.
This discovery could have implications for not only quantum computers but also spintronics, which use the spin of electrons instead of their charge for data storage and transmission. After all, electrodes are well known and understood pieces of technology.