A team of engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, has discovered a new method of controlling atomic nuclei as qubits, a breakthrough that could lead to significant advancements in quantum computing.

The traditional approach to controlling qubits, which are the basic building blocks of quantum computers, involves manipulating the electron cloud that surrounds an atomic nucleus. However, the Berkeley team found that they could control the nucleus itself by using an electrical field to manipulate the spin of the atomic nucleus.

“This new approach opens up a whole new area of research in quantum computing,” said Alexei Bylinskii, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley and lead author of the study.

The team used a technique called nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center sensing to measure the magnetic field produced by the atomic nucleus. They then applied a series of electrical pulses to the surrounding environment to manipulate the spin of the nucleus.

“We were able to control the nucleus directly, which has never been done before,” said Bylinskii. “This could have significant implications for the development of quantum computing.”

One of the advantages of this new method is that it is less susceptible to environmental noise, which can cause errors in quantum calculations. The team also found that they could use the method to control multiple nuclei at the same time, which could lead to more powerful quantum computers.

“Controlling the nucleus as a qubit has many advantages over traditional approaches,” said Holger Müller, a professor of physics at UC Berkeley and co-author of the study. “It could lead to more stable qubits and better error correction, which are two key challenges in quantum computing.”

The team’s findings have been published in the journal Science Advances, and they are now working to further develop their method and explore its potential applications.

“We believe that this new approach could be a game-changer in the field of quantum computing,” said Bylinskii. “It opens up new avenues for research and could ultimately lead to more powerful and efficient quantum computers.”

Via The Impactlab