The discovery, published in Nature Materials, takes us a key step further to creating practical quantum computing which could tackle complex programs that would otherwise take the lifetime of the universe to finish.
The collaboration partners are based in the University of Warwick, UCL, ETH Zurich and the USA Sandia National Labs.
Information on our normal computers is stored as bits, which are either ones or zeros. Quantum bits work differently in that each quantum bit can try out being a one and a zero at the same time, which makes them much more powerful for solving certain problems.
Researchers have explored influencing the direction of spin in electrons to create those states but this approach has had its challenges.
Dr Gavin Morley from the University of Warwick's Department of Physics said: "Bismuth atoms in silicon crystals are great at working as quantum bits. Each bismuth atom has a spare electron, which has a "spin" that can be influenced by magnets.
"If we put the electron into a magnet, it lines up with the magnetic field, behaving like a compass needle.
"We can control the direction that the electron is pointing in, using microwaves. Microwaves let us flip the direction the electron is pointing in, and these "up and down" directions are what constitute the "one and zero" in our quantum bit.
"Unfortunately, our electron is constantly prone to interference from nearby atoms that are out of our control.
"And the more time we waste, the greater the chance that our poor electron will suffer from interference, making it unusable to us."
"Now, this electron is coupled to the bismuth nucleus, which has its own spin: a smaller compass needle. Using this as an extra quantum bit and flipping it at the same time as our electron, would really help out. We can control this smaller compass needle too, but as it's smaller, it takes longer to control, and we need to use radiowaves instead of microwaves to do this."
"The good news is that as it's slow to respond, our bismuth nucleus's smaller compass needle suffers less from interference by nearby rogue atoms than our electron's larger compass needle. Unfortunately in the time we spend controlling our bismuth nucleus, these rogue atoms interfere with our electron."
"However we found that if we reduce the magnetic field just enough, then the electron and the nucleus become hybridized. Our new experiments at ETH Zurich show that through hybridisation, we can flip both compass needles easily using microwaves."
Dr Morley compares it to the magnetic resonance imaging we find in hospitals.
He said: "MRI works by controlling the nuclear spins in your body.
"We have hybridized electron and nuclear spins and found that this makes it easier to control them.
"It's an easy new way to make slow and fast quantum bits work together. There are lots more challenges to face before anyone has a working computer with enough quantum bits to be useful, but with this hybridization as part of a computer's design, we are one step closer."
The paper entitled "Quantum control of hybrid nuclear–electronic qubits" is published in Nature Materials doi: 10.1038/NMAT3499 (2012) and is by Gavin W Morley, Petra Lueders, M Hamed Mohammady, Setrak J Balian, Gabriel Aeppli, Christopher WM Kay, Wayne M Witzel, Gunnar Jeschke & Tania S Monteiro, Nature Materials doi: 10.1038/NMAT3499 (2012).
Gavin Morley, Department of Physics, University of Warwick. email@example.com tel 44-2476-150-801 or 44-7894-984-021
Anna Blackaby, University of Warwick press officer
Anna Blackaby | EurekAlert!
Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1
21.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Hochfrequenzphysik und Radartechnik FHR
Taming chaos: Calculating probability in complex systems
21.03.2018 | American Institute of Physics
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
21.03.2018 | Life Sciences