Room temperature quantum state achieved for record breaking 39 minutes

11/14/2013 - 00:00

A normally fragile quantum state has been shown to survive at room temperature for a world record 39 minutes, overcoming a key barrier towards building ultrafast quantum computers.

An international team including Stephanie Simmons of Oxford University, UK, report in this week'sScience a test performed by Mike Thewalt of Simon Fraser University, Canada, and colleagues. In conventional computers data is stored as a string of 1s and 0s. In the experiment quantum bits of information, 'qubits', were put into a 'superposition' state in which they can be both 1s and 0 at the same time -- enabling them to perform multiple calculations simultaneously.