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Quantum Memory 'world Record' Smashed

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Artist's representation of quantum computing.

An international team of researchers broke a record by holding a fragile quantum memory state stable at room temperature for 39 minutes.

Credit: S. Simmons

An international team of researchers has held a fragile quantum memory state stable at room temperature for a record-breaking 39 minutes, in a breakthrough that brings quantum computing closer to real-world use.

Led by Simon Fraser University's Mike Thewalt, the team maintained qubits of information encoded in a silicon system nearly 100 times longer than in the past. The unofficial previous record for a solid-state system was 25 seconds at room temperature, or three minutes under cryogenic conditions.

"This opens the possibility of truly long-term storage of quantum information at room temperature," Thewalt says.

The team encoded information into the nuclei of phosphorus atoms held in a sliver of purified silicon, and used magnetic field pulses to tilt the spin of the nuclei to form the qubits of memory. After creating the sample at close to absolute zero, the team increased the system to room temperature and the superposition states lasted for 39 minutes. In addition, the team was able to manipulate the qubits as the system's temperature climbed and fell back toward absolute zero.

"Having such robust, as well as long-lived, qubits could prove very helpful for anyone trying to build a quantum computer," says Oxford University's Stephanie Simmons.

From BBC News
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