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UCL researchers show new route to quantum computers

Publication date: Mar 14, 2006 4:20:24 PM

A paper published in Nature (4th September 2003) by a team from the Universities of Chicago and Wisconsin and University College London today reports that quantum computers can be manufactured using ordinary solid material.

Previously it was thought that expensive, ultra-pure solid materials or even exotic liquids or gases would be required to manufacture these machines. The new work shows that in the future, inexpensive quantum computers with computational abilities beyond today’s supercomputers might appear on desktops.

Quantum computers are attracting attention because they will have extraordinary power for applications such as the breaking of secret codes.

Prof. Gabriel Aeppli, of the UCL Physics Department and the Director of the joint UCL-Imperial College London Centre for Nanotechnology and one of the team leaders said:

“Although the material that we have identified requires cooling to below -272 Celsius (almost at absolute zero temperature) to reveal the quantum behaviour needed for a computer, we understand the behaviour and how to diagnose it. This gives us confidence that we might be able to find similar behaviour in other materials at more practical temperatures.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The report ‘Entangled quantum state of magnetic dipoles’ by S.Ghosh, T.F.Rosenbaum, G.Aeppli, and S.Coppersmith will appear in the September 4, 2003 issue of Nature.
  2. A £3.7million UCL Basic Technologies project on quantum information processing is described by Jenny Hogan in a news feature in Nature (volume 424, 484-486[2003]). Technical details can be found in Stoneham A. M., Fisher, A. J. & Greenland, P. T. J. Phys. Condens. Matter 15, L447-L451 (2003).
  3. Quantum computation using a similar material is described in “Quantum Annealing of a Disordered Magnet”, J. Brooke, D. Bitko, T. F. Rosenbaum, G. Aeppli, Science 284, pp. 779-781, (1999).

Further information:

To arrange an interview or obtain a copy of the paper, please contact Heidi Foden, UCL Media Relations, 020 7679 7678 or h.foden@ucl.ac.uk