Scientists make quantum leap in developing faster computers

March 19, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists have created a molecular device which could act as a building block for future generations of superfast computers.

The researchers have created components that could one day be used to develop quantum computers - devices based on molecular scale technology instead of and which would be much faster than conventional computers.

The study, by scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Edinburgh and published in the journal Nature, was funded by the European Commission.

Scientists have achieved the breakthrough by combining with molecular machines that can shuttle between two locations without the use of external force. These manoeuvrable magnets could one day be used as the basic component in quantum computers.

Conventional computers work by storing information in the form of bits, which can represent information in binary code - either as zero or one.

Quantum computers will use quantum , or , which are far more sophisticated - they are capable of representing not only zero and one, but a range of values simultaneously. Their complexity will enable quantum computers to perform intricate calculations much more quickly than conventional computers.

Professor David Leigh, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Chemistry, said: "This development brings super-fast, non-silicon based computing a step closer.

"The magnetic involved have potential to be used as qubits, and combining them with molecular machines enables them to move, which could be useful for building quantum computers. The major challenges we face now are to bring many of these qubits together to build a device that could perform calculations, and to discover how to communicate between them."

Professor Richard Winpenny, of the University of Manchester's School of Chemistry, said: "To perform computation we have to have states where the qubits speak to each other and others where they don't - rather like having light switches on and off.

"Here we have shown we can bring the qubits together, control how far apart they are, and potentially switch the device between two or more states. The remaining challenge is to learn how to do the switching, and that's what we're trying to do now."

Provided by University of Manchester

Explore further: Quantum breakup is no heartbreaker

Related Stories

A Quantum CPU: the Pentium Q?

May 23, 2006

A new design scheme for a quantum processor core makes potential quantum computers more technically feasible, more efficient, and in many cases faster by keeping all of the quantum bits active all the time, rather than switching ...

2 qubits in action, new step towards the quantum computer

June 14, 2007

Researchers at Delft University of Technology have succeeded in carrying out calculations with two quantum bits, the building blocks of a possible future quantum computer. The Delft researchers are publishing an article about ...

Physicists perform the first ever quantum calculation

December 11, 2007

University of Queensland researchers are part of an international team to have made the first ever execution of a quantum calculation, a major step towards building the first quantum computers.

Quantum computers could excel in modeling chemical reactions

November 20, 2008

Quantum computers would likely outperform conventional computers in simulating chemical reactions involving more than four atoms, according to scientists at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and ...

'Self-correcting' gates advance quantum computing

March 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Two Dartmouth researchers have found a way to develop more robust “quantum gates,” which are the elementary building blocks of quantum circuits. Quantum circuits, someday, will be used to operate quantum ...

Recommended for you

Counting down to the new ampere

August 29, 2016

After it's all over, your lights will be just as bright, and your refrigerator just as cold. But very soon the ampere—the SI base unit of electrical current—will take on an entirely new identity, and NIST scientists are ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Smellyhat
5 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2009
Down-voted for having such a clichéd, uninformative, and ultimately scientifically illiterate title, for which I presume physorg.com itself is responsible.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.