UPDATED 8:51 AM PT — Thursday, March 12, 2020
An accidental discovery in an Australian lab has great potential to aid the development of quantum computers.
In a study published in Nature this week, engineers at the University of New South Wales announced they have discovered how to control the nucleus of a single atom by using only electric fields.
One of the scientists responsible for the discovery explained how this will offer an improvement on the current technology.
“Like the word says, ‘magnetic resonance’ requires magnetic fields to control and detect the nuclei…that’s how it’s always been done and it works,” explained Andrea Morello, Scientia Professor of Quantum Engineering at UNSW. “But the problem is that magnetic fields are very difficult to confine to a small space, so if you wanted to act on a single spin, for example, for quantum computing or to make an atomic scale sensor, chances are that the magnetic field would spread out so much that it will effect a lot of other spins in the vicinity.”
— UNSW (@UNSW) March 11, 2020
Their breakthrough was first predicted to be possible back in 1961 by Nobel Prize winner Nico Bloembergen, but the Australian scientists are the first to discover a successful way to do it.
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