Opening the Gate to Robust Quantum Computing
Scientists have overcome a major hurdle facing quantum computing: how to protect quantum information from degradation by the environment while simultaneously performing computation in a solid-state quantum system. The research, reported in a recent issue of Nature, opens the door to robust quantum computation with solid-state devices and using quantum technologies for magnetic measurements with single-atom precision at nanoscale.
Quantum information processing relies on the combined motion of microscopic elements, such as electrons, nuclei, photons, ions, or tiny oscillating joists. In classical information processing, information is stored and processed in bits, and the data included in each bit is limited to two values (0 or 1), which can be thought of as a light switch being either up or down. But, in a quantum bit, called a qubit, data can be represented by how these qubits orient and move in relationship with each other, introducing the possibility for data expression in many tilts and movements. This power of quantum information processing also poses a major challenge: even a minor “bump” off course causes qubits to lose data. And qubits tend to interact quite sensitively with their environment, where multiple forces bump them off track.