back to article Boffins manage to keep graphene qubits 'quantum coherent' for all of 55... nanoseconds

Physicists have formed qubits – quantum bits – from graphene for the first time, according to research published in Nature Nanotechnology. The applications of quantum computing are still a little handwavy at the moment, but it all boils down to the creation of qubits. Traditional binary computers carry out operations using …

  1. cbars Silver badge

    I know the equation

    quantum + graphene = grant_money

    (jokes aside, well done boffins!)

  2. Danny 2

    I feel sorry for the next generation of Sys Admins. You are going to have to be in two places at once, and we'll either know where you are or where you are heading, but never both.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, my cat seems to do this naturally, so I have to learn how she does it, don't I?

      1. Ima Ballsy

        Welll .....

        Is your cat in a box and is it dead or alive ?

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

          Re: Welll .....

          That's four possible states for starters.

          (& why am I reading "Wellll....." in Tom Bakers or David Tennant's voices).

        2. jonathan keith

          Re: Welll .....

          I believe the natural state for Schrödinger's cat is 'undead'.

          1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

            Re: Welll .....

            What is its unnatural state? Unalive?

          2. richardcox13

            Re: Welll .....

            > I believe the natural state for Schrödinger's cat is 'undead'.

            Unless the cat is Greebo.

            In which case the state is known as "bloody furious" and the only safe distances is the radius of the observable universe (if you're lucky).

    2. Herring`

      The real problem with a process running on a quantum computer is that it only works when you're not looking at it. Debug that.

  3. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

    1k qubits ?!?

    Unless something changed recently, we can't even do 100 :

    1. Jay Lenovo

      Re: 1k qubits ?!?

      I believe the feat is that they are using graphene as the primary material. As to why graphene is so much better, they would need to elaborate.

      Otherwise IBM's 50 qubit machine maintaining state for 90 microseconds makes this look piddly.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: 1k qubits ?!?

        "Otherwise IBM's 50 qubit machine maintaining state for 90 microseconds makes this look piddly."

        I wonder if quantum computing is the next fusion? We know we can do it at small scale for a fraction of a second, but a practical working example is always 30 years away?

        1. Christian Berger

          Re: 1k qubits ?!?

          "I wonder if quantum computing is the next fusion?"

          Well it could be worse. We know that fusion works, the sun does it. However we do not know yet know if quantum computers or any significant size are possible. It could still be that there are fundamental limits which make this impossible. However however that goes, we'll still know a great deal more after having tried to build quantum computers.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: 1k qubits ?!?

          a practical working example is always 30 years away?

          Well, some people (who actually know something about the subject) think so, such as Mikhail Dyakonov.

          Personally, I suspect practical general QC is at least a long way off. We get many of these "best result so far" publications in QC research, but as Dyakonov points out, we're well off the predictions of a few years ago, and the researchers are blithely ignoring some of the theoretical issues.

        3. FozzyBear

          Re: 1k qubits ?!?

          always 30 years away?

          Seems to be the case. Still that hasn't stopped the marketing pukes from throwing quantum in front on anything they are trying to sell

    2. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: 1k qubits ?!?

      I think they mean "we can fit 1000 on a chip" not "we've made 1000 *work*".

  4. Danny 2

    Happy Something Nineteen

    This is the best website on the internet by far. Best content, smartest moderation. Only place that hasn't banned me, and I've been here decades saying silly stuff and swearing wildly.

    As to the below the line folk, I don't like all of you. I love nearly all of you. Other parts of the internet / life depress me. You folk cheer me up, rekindle me. Your cynicism and insights are life-enhancing. Who ever hangs this place together deserves all our support.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Happy Something Nineteen

      Seconded. Not sure what caused you to post to this thread at this moment (I'm guessing booze), but I've also been here for close to two decades (sweet Jesus), and it's the only Internet forum that I bother attending to regularly.

      Virtual brofist.

  5. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921
    Thumb Up

    Having posted anonymously for decades, I recently revealed my true identity because The Reg is my favourite pseudoscientific, techish site and the forums are inhabited by some bloody strange people. I've watched it grow from an extremely ugly chick into an even uglier winged beast, feeding on rotting happenings worldwide and pooping it out all fresh and steamy for our delectation.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

    Echoing the sentiments above me, been reading El Reg for the best part of two decades now.

    "and the forums are inhabited by some bloody strange yet wonderful people."


    PS Not seen a 404 error on here in years & just found this lovely little jpg (From the Oregon Story).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "PS Not seen a 404 error on here in years..."

      Not quite a 404, but how 'bout "This Page Doesn't exist"

      1. yoganmahew

        This page is unintentionally left blank?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's only resonance

    All you did when you cooled it down, was reduce the noise, what you have there is matter resonance.

    1. You already know there is a resonant electric field, you've seen the effects in the oscillations and jiggle of electrons and protons.

    2. You already know there is an electric force, it's well understood. Those jiggles must either *cause* or be the-result-of such a field.

    3. And you can quickly accept resonance with a simple thought experiment: If matter X oscillates at frequency F1, and matter Y oscillates at frequency F2, and two ARE CONNECTED BY ELECTRIC FORCE, then how can they NOT even out those frequencies? How would you prevent that energy from being transfered via that force to *stop* it settling to a resonant value??

    So you already know you have a resonant oscillating electric field in matter. So of course you can make graphene atoms resonate to be the same properties when you cool them. It's about 3.4x10^23 Hz, and its the same field that light moves over, and the same field that matter spins over.

    Your qubits will be in the same state across the graphene, and they'll be in that same state every N wavelengths of the resonance frequency of matter, i.e. some integer fraction of 3.4x10^23 Hz. You're not making a quantum computer there, those are just analogue computers. You're proving the resonance of matter.

    1. Xamol

      Re: It's only resonance

      Well someone had to bring this thread down into the gutter

      1. Milton

        Re: It's only resonance

        Re: It's only resonance "Well someone had to bring this thread down into the gutter"

        The conciseness of your response to such sophomoric drivel is probably very wise. Once again I'm reminded of a saying that's become popular in this world of anonymous idiots:

        "Don't wrestle with a pig. You get filthy, but the pig enoys it."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's only resonance

        If you think about it for a second, isn't it amazing that at 10 millikelvin, almost absolute zero, all of the matter was completely intact. Structure, mass, and even oscillations required to maintain that structure, all still working and still there.

        Things like electron-spin, all still functioning.

        Amazing, and odd, no?

        1. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: It's only resonance

          10 millikelvin is so cold that it's almost cold enough for them to start wearing coats in Newcastle

  8. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    general QC applications are well-known

    The applications of quantum computing are still a little handwavy at the moment

    I don't believe they are. The likelihood of practical general QC may be very much in doubt,1 but if we ever have it, we know what to do with it. There are two very well-known, general-purpose algorithms in BQP (Shor's and Grover's), and they have a bunch of practical applications. The other big area is in physics simulations.

    The more interesting question (besides the feasibility one, on which I am skeptical) is economics. If GQC does turn out to be "practical" but only at tremendous resource cost, then will any problems be worth using it? We already have trial deployments of post-quantum cryptography for mass crypto (i.e. TLS),2 so by the time anyone has a usable GQC machine it'll only be useful for cracking historical cryptography; and if it's expensive, only very select items from the archives.3 For other applications, you'd have to find specific instances of problems where those specific solutions have great value.

    Physics simulations look like the most plausible applications for Really Expensive General Quantum Computing.

    1And, no, the DWave machine does not count. That may not be quantum anything, and even if it is, it's just adiabatic QC (quantum annealing). It's a fancy analog computer, with of course a big classical digital computer wrapped around it. It doesn't solve problems in BQP.

    2Google's rolling out their second experimental post-quantum TLS suite, using a combination of X25519 and HRSS for Kx.

    3The lack of PFS with RSA Kx means more bang for your buck when cracking the key exchange in most of the archived SSL/TLS traffic the NSA and other SIGINT types are no doubt holding, but you'd still have to identify targets of great interest if cracking is expensive. And a lot of that we can crack with conventional machines now, if we really want to.

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