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Quantum Computing - Kwantumcomputer - Quantencomputer
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Magnets in a spin bath

 

Is quantum mechanics relevant to everyday life? Latest scientific evidence suggests that it is. A paper published in Science based on research from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland and others, reports how quantum computers behave as if they are isolated devices. The extent to which they do this can be regulated by the environment they are in. So future quantum computers will have to be in a carefully controlled environment. It's a little like concerns about turbulent air conditions when designing aircraft.

One of the most important questions in the natural sciences is whether quantum mechanics is relevant to everyday experience. Once only a problem in the realm of theoretical physics, the recent demand for secure communications and ultra-high speed computation has made the answer highly relevant to future technology where interacting quantum bits (qubits) replace the classical binary bits '0' and '1' on which current digital electronics and communications rely.

From experiment to reality
To engineer quantum computers it is necessary for the 'qubits' to be stable in realistic settings, such as the integrated circuit packages in a typical office computer. Physicists refer to such settings as the 'environment', or more picturesquely, the 'bath' and the challenge is to control and minimize the interactions of the 'qubits' with the 'bath'. 'Baths' by their very nature can be difficult to define and therefore the systematic study of interactions between qubits and 'baths' is in its infancy. The new research shows how a well-specified bath affects the 'qubits' in a crystal which behaves as a very primitive quantum computer.

The paper was published on 15th April 2005 in Science by a team from the Laboratory for Neutron Scattering (LNS) at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, University College London and the Universities of Chicago and Copenhagen.

H. M. Rønnow, R. Parthasarathy, J. Jensen, G. Aeppli, T. F. Rosenbaum, D. F. McMorrow in Science, Vol 308, April 2005, pages 389 - 392.

www.sciencemag.org
Further information:
Dr. Henrik Rønnow, PSI; Phone +41 (0)56 310 46 68; henrik.ronnow@psi.ch



 

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