Nuclear Qubit CreatedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: April 18, 2013 09:32AM
Bits, discrete zeroes and ones make up all of the data stored on your computer, your portable drives, and the Internet. In the future though, quantum computers will be storing data not as discrete zeroes and ones but as qubits, which can be both zero and one at the same time. There are many options for what particles will act as qubits including photons and ions, and now, thanks to researchers at the University of New South Wales, atomic nuclei as well.
Qubits are very hard things to work with because their ability to exist in a superposition, as both zero and ones, is easily disturbed, causing the superposition to collapse to a single value. Indeed this one issue is a primary factor for why quantum computers are proving so difficult to create, but this research may greatly change that. An atom's nucleus is buried beneath its many electron orbitals and can represent as little as one millionth the diameter of the atom. Being so small and shielded by the electrons, the nucleus is not easily affected by external forces so its superposition would survive longer than the superposition of an electron.
Very important to the future use of this nuclear qubit is that the researchers created it on a piece of silicon with a single phosphorus atom embedded in it. This use of silicon makes the qubit more compatible with modern electronics than those that need to be stored in vacuums and should be more scaleable as well.
Source: University of New South Wales