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. firstname.lastname@example.org tel 44-2476-150-801 or 44-7894-984-021
Anna Blackaby, University of Warwick press officer
Anna Blackaby | EurekAlert!
Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences