US boffins have unveiled a material which they believe could be as important to next-generation quantum computing as silicon is to the computers of today.
The new compound, made from potassium, niobium, oxygen and chromium ions, could provide a "technological breakthrough" that leads to the development of new quantum computing technologies.
"The field of quantum information technology is in its infancy, and our work is another step forward in this fascinating field," said Saritha Nellutla, a postdoctoral associate at NHMFL and lead author of the paper.
One proposed method of developing quantum computers is to use tiny magnetic fields, or 'spins', that are associated with electrons and various atomic nuclei.
The Florida scientists used high magnetic fields and microwave radiation to "operate" on the spins in the new material to get an indication of how long the spin could be controlled.
Based on the experiments, the material could enable 500 operations in 10 microseconds before losing its ability to retain information, making it a good candidate for a quantum bit.
"This material is very promising," said Naresh Dalal, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Florida State University and one of the paper's authors.
"But additional synthetic and magnetic characterisation work is needed before it could be made suitable for use in a device."
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