• Writing quantum information onto a europium ion embedded in a crystal. Image credit: Solid State Spectroscopy Group, ANUWriting quantum information onto a europium ion embedded in a crystal. Image credit: Solid State Spectroscopy Group, ANU

ANU and Otago researchers make joint breakthrough in quantum computing

Physicists working on a prototype quantum hard drive have improved storage time by a factor of more than 100.  The team of physicists from ANU and the University of Otago, have managed to achieve a storage time of six hours.  This achievement is a major step towards a secure worldwide data encryption network.

The research was recently published in Nature magazine, and lead author Manjin Zhong, from ANU’s Research School of Physics and Engineering, explained: "We believe it will soon be possible to distribute quantum information between any two points on the globe."

"Quantum states are very fragile and normally collapse in milliseconds. Our long storage times have the potential to revolutionise the transmission of quantum information."

Quantum information promises unbreakable encryption because quantum particles such as photons of light can be created in a way that intrinsically links them. Interactions with either of these entangled particles affect the other, no matter how far they are separated.

Other research in quantum computing currently looks at using laser beams in optical fibres to transmit information across 100km networks, whereas the team approached the problem by creating a solid-state drive - quantum information is stored in atoms of the rare earth element europium embedded in a crystal.  With this method, quantum information can be stored and carried over longer distances.

You can find out more about this research and read the entire paper from here.

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