A group of scientists from Harvard University have cracked a solution for quantum computing, by creating quantum bits or qubits that can remain in a solid-state system at room temperature.
Quantum computers are useful in performing calculations much faster than any current super- computers. These computers will bind the power of atoms and molecules to perform the processing tasks in minutes that could take the current ultrafast computers millions of years to complete.
The team led by Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin along with graduate students Georg Kucsko and Peter Maurer and postdoctoral researcher Christian Latta created quantum bits at room temperature by using impurities from laboratory-grown diamonds as they behave the same way as atoms.
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Data can be stored in these quantum bits for two seconds which is an increase of six orders of magnitude compared to the lifetime of other earlier systems.
"What we've been able to achieve in terms of control is quite unprecedented," Lukin said in a news release.
"We have a qubit, at room temperature that we can measure with very high efficiency and fidelity. We can encode data in it, and we can store it for a relatively long time. We believe this work is limited only by technical issues, so it looks feasible to increase the life span into the range of hours. At that point, a host of real-world applications become possible," he said.
The scientists believe that the research will help in building a practical quantum computer in the future.
Atoms have the ability to occupy two states at the same time which is a key principle for quantum computers. Current computers encodes information in bit values of either '0' or '1', while the quantum bits are capable of holding both '0' and '1' together at the same time that obeys the superposition principle. It helps the quantum computers to perform multiple tasks in parallel compared to current systems that perform tasks in succession.
Apart from creating a quantum computer, scientists hope that their system can be used to create applications such as "quantum cash" to perform bank transactions using quantum bits that will keep counterfeiters at bay and "quantum networks" to transmit data.
The work has been published in the journal Science.