Researchers at Oxford University were recently able to keep a quantum system alive for 39 minutes. In the realm of quantum computing, those 39 minutes are a life time. Quantum bits typically only survive at room temperature for a few seconds.
Building a quantum computer is not a simple task. While 39 minutes may not seem like a long time, in only takes one hundred thousandths of a second to flip nuclear spin of a phosphorus ion.
Stephanie Simmons, from Oxford’s Department of Materials said, “Having such robust, as well as long lived qubits, could prove very helpful for anyone trying to build a quantum computer.”
Oxford’s success is getting a qubit to survive “opens up the possibility of truly long-term coherent information storage at room temperature,” said Mike Thewalt, a researcher working on the project
All of these long lasting qubits share the same quantum state, which is only the beginning. To perform calculations, however, a quantum computer will need to have qubits in different quantum states. Researchers are still a long way from having a fully operational quantum computer but they have taken a huge step closer to that computer being a reality.