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Hidden order found in a quantum spin liquid could lead to quantum computer advancement

Scientists have made yet another advancement in the area of quantum computers. An international team composed of members from the London Center for Nanotechnology, U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, among others, reported that they detected a hidden magnetic “quantum order” or “string order” that extends over chains of 100 atoms, or a length of 30 nanometers, in a ceramic without classical magnetism.

These findings, published last week in the journal Science, could help lead to the development of quantum computers and other materials at the nanoscale.

“Quantum mechanics is normally appreciated only on the atomic scale. However, here we present evidence for a very long and very quantum mechanical magnetic molecule,” said Collin Broholm, professor in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins' Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. “While disordered to a classical observer, the magnetic moments of almost 100 nickel atoms arranged in a row within a solid were shown to display an underlying quantum coherence limited only by chemical and thermal impurities. The progress we made is really a demonstration of quantum coherence among a larger number of atoms in a magnet than ever before.”

The spin of an individual electron is an excellent qubit, but in a real material it interacts with other electrons, disturbing its quantum properties. The new research is important because it explicitly demonstrates, using a practical material, that a large number of electron spins can be coupled together to yield a quantum mechanical state with no classical analog. In addition, the team has also established the factors that affect the distance over which the hidden 'quantum order' can be maintained.

“Our goal is to understand the factors that affect the distance over which the hidden 'string order,' or quantum phase coherence, can be maintained,” says Brookhaven Lab physicist Guangyong Xu. “If you are manufacturing something, you don't want a certain property to be maintained only at one spot. You want the property maintained throughout the material.”

Quantum computing uses the concept of a “qubit,” which differs from the traditional computer bit in that it does not rely on the binary states of 1 or 0, or on or off. The qubit architecture lead some to believe that quantum computing may be far more effective at solving certain problems that still challenge even the world’s fastest computers today.

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By Proteusza on 7/31/2007 9:41:25 AM , Rating: 5
The first thing I thought when I read this was that they had uncovered a secretive sect, order, or movement devoted to furthering quantum computers!

Also, why is there an "of" in the title?

By TheRodent on 7/31/2007 10:04:16 AM , Rating: 2

Beware of the 'Order For Quantum Computer Advancement'

By marvdmartian on 7/31/2007 10:05:21 AM , Rating: 3
The "of" is the super-secret password that lets other sect members know you're part of the quantum sect. Sssshhhhhh!!!

Remember, the first rule of the super-secret quantum sect is.... ;)

By Proteusza on 7/31/2007 11:15:19 AM , Rating: 2
I for one welcome our new Quantum Computing Overlords.

By JonB on 7/31/2007 11:34:51 AM , Rating: 2
I was in their secret chambers the other day (blindfolded, so I can't say quite where) and saw a book titled "How to Serve Humans." It seemed vaguely familiar.

All Hail the Quantum Overlords.

By HaZaRd2K6 on 7/31/2007 9:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
Wait... you were blindfolded and managed to see a book with a title, but not where you were... Interesting...

I think you may be one of... them.

*Runs away quickly*

By aos007 on 8/1/2007 12:37:40 PM , Rating: 2
Haven't you heard of quantum tunneling effect? With a certain probability, it is possible to overcome a barrier (blindfold).

By timmiser on 8/2/2007 1:29:37 AM , Rating: 2
Well, at least the book wasn't called "How to Serve Humans for Dummies"

By dice1111 on 7/31/2007 10:13:17 AM , Rating: 2
The thought crossed my mind too.

So this could be a branch of the Sacred Order of the Stonecutters. Would we call them the Qubit Cutters? (Wiki)

By ttnuagadam on 7/31/2007 2:05:12 PM , Rating: 2
my first thought was that they discovered that the randomness associated with quantum mechanics wasn't so random after all

By Dactyl on 8/1/2007 2:06:21 AM , Rating: 3
DailyTech articles have quantum titles.

As soon as you observe the title, it changes.

Sounds like a BEC to Me
By Goty on 7/31/2007 11:03:47 AM , Rating: 1
I don't think this should come as much of a surprise considering all we know about Bose-Einstein Condensates and given the fact that Nickel is a boson.

RE: Sounds like a BEC to Me
By Terberculosis on 7/31/2007 12:30:35 PM , Rating: 2
I was under the impression this material was exhibiting these properties under normal conditions, not cooled to near 0 Kelvin.

Bose Einstein condensates are formed when groups of atoms (typically a gas, not polymer chains or ceramics) are cooled to near absolute zero, and all the atoms collapse into the same state.

RE: Sounds like a BEC to Me
By Goty on 7/31/2007 12:54:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, that's true, but the level of coherence is on a much smaller scale here than in a true BEC (hence why I said it was like a BEC).

Also, yes, this quantum computer must be cooled to extremely low temperatures (though not to such low temperatures as a BEC must be). It also differs from a BEC in that there needs to be no external confining potential.

RE: Sounds like a BEC to Me
By Terberculosis on 7/31/2007 1:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
I still fail to see how this is like a BEC. They just managed to show that there is some quantum coherence along the chain. They didn't manage to get all of the atoms in the chain to fall into the same state, as they do in a condensate.

RE: Sounds like a BEC to Me
By Goty on 7/31/2007 2:50:21 PM , Rating: 2
*LIKE* a BEC, not exactly analogous to one. I'd see your point if I said it was exactly like a BEC, but I never said that.

RE: Sounds like a BEC to Me
By masher2 on 7/31/2007 2:09:33 PM , Rating: 2
> "given the fact that Nickel is a boson."

Technically, some of its isotopes are bosons; Ni-61, though, is a fermion.

RE: Sounds like a BEC to Me
By Goty on 7/31/2007 2:43:49 PM , Rating: 3
Ok, ok, the most abundant naturally occurring isotope is a boson =P

Ha, the next Harry Potter novel
By cenobite9 on 7/31/2007 10:49:50 AM , Rating: 5
Harry Potter and the Order for Quantum Computer Advancement

been there...
By 195 on 7/31/2007 11:45:11 AM , Rating: 3
This is also mentioned in Chapter 2 of Quantum Computing for Dummies. (p.78)

RE: been there...
By ted61 on 8/1/2007 10:07:18 AM , Rating: 2
Never take a class with the word quantum in the title. The name "quantum for Dummies" is misleading.

Quantum is so hard for me, I could not get past the second sentence of the article.

By Terberculosis on 7/31/2007 12:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone else want to hazard a guess as to how this can actually be implemented into quantum gates?

Maybe it would be possible to build gates around these molecules, Rings of semiconductor gates to induce a field around certian atoms in the chain. Then you may be able to turn the ring gates on and off just like in a conventional computer. When you have your ring gates all activated and deactivated, you can change the spin of the first atom in the polymer chain, and as the change propigates down (faster than light, naturally) you could alter the outcome at the end in a predictable manner.

Hell, I dont know, I never took classes on anything this advanced. Just a (poorly informed) guess.

I discovered this too ...
By HVAC on 7/31/2007 12:58:13 PM , Rating: 2
... in my secret, underground, nuclear powered, buckyball shaped, carbon nanotube encrusted, biotechnological quantum entanglement lab the other day, but I decided not to publish. It seemed such an elementary discovery and not worth mentioning.

I'm surprised these mortals^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H scientists even bothered blogging about this finding.

Just tell me when...
By JonnyDough on 8/2/2007 6:15:23 AM , Rating: 1
Just tell me when...
I can play a video game with zilch lag and perfect life-like graphics that not only entertains my direct line of sight but engulfs my peripheral vision immerses me in another realm. Oh, and I freakin' hate lag.

Just tell me when...
I can travel from point A to B without going in between (and I don't mean to the other side of the sofa away from my friend who just expelled gas - I'm not THAT lazy). I'll be damned the day I feel 16 again and actually enjoy being behind the wheel of a car for more than an hour. Planes, trains, and automobiles, (boats get honorable mention here too I suppose [for you sea-dwelling types] and I feel the desire to rant about those damn 17 year old scooter gangs but I won't) are the worst forms of travel. I freakin' hate traveling.

I don't know how much about quantum physics (I'm not a physicist now am I? [how would you know?]) and I don't really care. Leave it to the rocket scientists and the guys that actually memorized the periodic table. I don't care about how this crap works. Make it safe and if you can get it to me by tomorrow that'd be just fantastic.

RE: Just tell me when...
By JonnyDough on 8/2/2007 6:16:58 AM , Rating: 1
Wow. Typos.

I said I wasn't a physicist. Too bad for me I'm not an editor either.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

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