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Pushing Quantum Data Storage to New Limits

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 07:46AM

It may be many years before we fully realize quantum computers, but some quantum technologies may be here much sooner, including quantum networks. In theory these networks would be able to send quantum information across the globe with unbreakable security. That data has to be stored though and quantum information tends not to survive long, but researchers at the Australian National University have set a record of six hours.

One of the ways currently used to store quantum information is with laser beams in optical fibers, and works with networks around one hundred kilometers long. This new method instead stores the information in the spins of europium atom nuclei, and preserves it by applying fixed and oscillating magnetic fields to the crystal. These fields isolate the europium spins so that the information cannot leak away, which is how the new storage time record is 100 times the previous one. Compared to the laser method, someone could walk with the crystal and have it suffer less loss, for a given distance.

While this quantum optical hard drive could have a serious impact on quantum networks, it could also affect our understanding of quantum mechanics. The phenomenon at work for the networks, quantum entanglement, has never been tested at as great of distances as this method allows.

Source: Australian National University

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