A team of scientists working at the University of New South Wales in Australia have managed to create a qubit — also known as a quantum bit — that can remain in superposition for 10 times longer than was previously possible. This new process could potentially deliver huge performance upgrades to future quantum systems.
The team applied an electromagnetic field to normal qubits to protect them from outside interference, according to a report from Tom’s Hardware. The oscillation of the field serves to cancel out any interruptions that are operating at a different frequency.
“We have created a new quantum bit where the spin of a single electron is merged together with a strong electromagnetic field,” said Arne Laucht, a research fellow at the university’s School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, and the lead author of the paper. “This quantum bit is more versatile and more long-lived than the electron alone, and will allow us to build more reliable quantum computers.”
The “dressed” qubits are said to last for 2.4 milliseconds before being dephased. It is crucial that qubits are kept in superposition for a quantum computer to be able to carry out calculations, so new developments in this area could help accelerate progress toward a large-scale universal system.
UNSW has been at the forefront of many recent advances in quantum computing. In November 2015, the university demonstrated it is possible to write and manipulate a quantum version of computer code, using two qubits in a silicon microchip.
It will be interesting to see how these dressed qubits impact the development of quantum computing as a whole. We are edging nearer to the creation of a fully fledged large-scale quantum computer — and new techniques like this one could play a part in bringing that result to fruition.