Hot qubits break one of the biggest constraints to practical quantum computers

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Most quantum computers being developed around the world will only work at fractions of a degree above absolute zero. That requires multi-million-dollar refrigeration and as soon as you plug them into conventional electronic circuits they’ll instantly overheat.

But now researchers led by Professor Andrew Dzurak at UNSW Sydney have addressed this problem.

“Our new results open a path from experimental devices to affordable quantum computers for real world business and government applications,” says Professor Dzurak.

The researchers’ proof-of-concept quantum processor unit cell, on a silicon chip, works at 1.5 Kelvin—15 times warmer than the main competing chip-based technology being developed by Google, IBM, and others, which uses superconducting qubits.

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Scientists create a rare fifth form of matter in space for the first time ever

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For a few minutes on Jan. 23, 2017, the coldest spot in the known universe was a tiny microchip hovering 150 miles over Kiruna, Sweden.

The chip was small — about the size of a postage stamp — and loaded with thousands of tightly-packed rubidium-87 atoms. Scientists launched that chip into space aboard an unpiloted, 40-foot-long (12 meters) rocket, then bombarded it with lasers until the atoms inside it cooled to minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 273.15 degrees Celsius) — a fraction of a fraction of a degree above absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature in nature.

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Researchers achieve temperatures colder than absolute zero

When heated atoms can move with different levels of energy, from low to high. With positive temperatures (blue), atoms more likely occupy low-energy states than high-energy states, while the opposite is true for negative temperatures (red).

The coldest temperature possible is most often thought to be absolute zero.  Researchers have now shown they can achieve even lower temperatures for a strange realm of “negative temperatures.”

 

 

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Amazing Discovery – Glass Melts When it Gets Ultracold

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Quantum fluctuations may melt glass when it gets too cold.

Anyone who’s seen enough old Sesame Street episodes or been to enough Renaissance Fairs knows that when glass gets hot enough, it turns to liquid. Applied heat pumps energy into the solid pieces of glass, getting their molecules jiggling. As the heat dissipates, the glass becomes cool and solidifies again.

 

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World’s First Quantum Machine

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The First Quantum Machine may not appear to be very exciting.

The tiny sliver of metal above, measuring as long as the human hair is wide, may be barely visible to the naked eye, but its implication to science is so staggering that it is hailed as the greatest scientific breakthrough of 2010.

Behold, the world’s first quantum machine:

It’s not much to look at. In fact, you can barely see it with the naked eye, and it doesn’t work unless it’s cooled down to just a fraction of a degree above absolute zero…

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