Scientists have discovered how to create artificial diamonds that are a cut above the rest and ideal for use in quantum computers. Researchers say these new artificial diamonds are better than other synthetic diamonds because they can store quantum information for a long time as well as transmit it clearly more clearly.
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The new designer crystal is described in detail in the July 6 Science magazine and could be a key building block in building a quantum internet. A futuristic communications network like a quantum internet would allow people to communicate using supersecure messages and interface with quantum computers around the globe.
The latest synthetic diamonds can also serve as a quantum storage thanks to a flaw in its carbon lattice where two carbon atoms are replaced with on noncarbon atom and an empty space. The pairing of the atoms results in a quantum property known as spin which puts them in either an "up" state, a "down" state or both at the same time. Each state reflects a bit of quantum data or qubit which is then encoded in light particles or photons that travel through fiber-optic cables.
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To achieve the qubit-storing diamond defect, nitrogen atoms are used which can store quantum data for milliseconds and milliseconds are a relatively long time in the quantum realm. The only problem is nitrogen atoms can't communicate that data very clearly. The atoms emit light particles at a broad range of frequencies which disrupts the quantum information being written into the photons.
Defects achieved with silicon atoms are capable of emitting light with a little more accuracy but haven't been able to store qubits for longer than several nanoseconds at a time. The reason for this is the electrical interactions they share with nearby particles which disrupts the stored qubits.
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