University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering scientists discovered a simple tweak can extend quantum systems life for up 10,000 times longer than before.

According to the study published on Aug. 13 in Science Daily, scientists claim the technology would revolutionize quantum communication, computing, and sensing. According to Phys.Org, while the technique was tested on a particular quantum systems class called solid-state qubits, it is assumed to work as well on other kinds of quantum systems. These include molecular quantum systems and superconducting quantum bits.

Scientists Claim Simple Tweak Can Make Quantum States Last 10,000 Times Longer
(Photo : David Awschalom/University of Chicago)
Scientists Kevin Miao, Chris Anderson and Alexandre Bourassa work on quantum research in the Awschalom lab at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering.

Argonne National Laboratory senior scientist and Chicago Quantum Exchange director David Awschalom, the study's lead author, said this would lay the foundation for "new avenues of research in quantum science." The Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering said this discovery has broad applicability and simple implementation that would impact many quantum engineering facets as well as allows new research opportunities that were impractical in the past.

Postdoctoral researcher Kevin Miao said they did not try to eliminate the noise in the system, but tricked the system into believing there is no noise. This has kept the system coherent for a long time. The approach is far different from physically isolating the system from the noise as well as keeping all materials pure, which is expensive.

Scientists Claim Simple Tweak Can Make Quantum States Last 10,000 Times Longer
(Photo : David Awschalom/Univesity of Chicago)
Postdoctoral researcher Kevin Miao works on quantum research at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering.

The UChicago scientists added a continuous alternating magnetic field to the usual electromagnetic pulses that were used to control quantum systems. They have rapidly rotated the electron spins by altering this field, then allowed the system to release the rest of the noise.

Miao related the principle to a merry-go-round ride wherein people were all yelling. "When the ride is still, you can hear them perfectly, but if you're rapidly spinning, the noise blurs into a background," he said.

On July 23, the U.S. Department of Energy presented a blueprint for the future quantum Internet in an event in Chicago. Yet, challenges on fundamental engineering continue as Quantum states need an extremely quiet and stable space because they can be distracted easily by background noise.

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The small mod allows longer coherence

This minor tweak has made the system to stay coherent by up to 22 milliseconds, which four magnitude orders higher than before. This is also far beyond any reported electron spin system in the past or much quicker than a blink of an eye, which takes about 350 milliseconds.

Awschalom also said the fix could lead to breakthroughs in almost all areas of quantum technology while creating "a pathway to scalability." This could also extend the storage of information about quantum electron spin practical, which will enable more complex operations in quantum computers and transmit quantum information from spin-based devices to farther networks.

Miao noted that a lot of candidates for quantum technology were pushed aside because they could not keep quantum coherence for a long time. He suggested having them re-assessed since their method could immensely improve coherence.

UChicago's system has completely adjusted some forms that usually destroy quantum coherence including temperature fluctuations, physical vibrations, and electromagnetic noise.

"The best part is, it's incredibly easy to do," said Miao adding that they used complex science in the process, but a clear-cut logistics for changing the magnetic field.

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