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Making Custom Qubits by Pushing Together Two Individual Atoms


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Custom molecules could make better quantum computers.

Researchers at Harvard University have used laser beams to manipulate a sodium atom and a caesium atom into a single, asymmetrical molecule.

Credit: IBM

Harvard University researchers have used laser beams to manipulate a sodium atom and a caesium atom into a single, asymmetrical molecule that can rotate, making it potentially useful for quantum computing.

Harvard's Lee Liu says such custom molecules are designed to rotate quickly, making it difficult for environmental noise to change that rate of rotation. Their asymmetrical magnetic field is such that two molecules positioned in close proximity do not need to make physical contact to exchange rotational energy.

"All I have to do is put two molecules together that are rotating at similar speeds, and then they'll be able to affect each other's quantum states, and that's how you do the computing," Liu notes.

He says his team is planning to make the atomic bonds tighter in the next year by reducing vibrations in the system with lasers, so the molecules can function as quantum bits.

From New Scientist
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