Control time for electronic spins increased to 10 seconds
A group of scientists, which included specialists from different countries of the world, was able to improve the record for the duration of maintaining control over electronic spins by almost 100 times. This fact is the most important step in science towards the invention of superfast computers based on quantum particles.
Prior to that, the best result was considered to hold the electron spin for a fraction of a second. However, famous physicists – Stephen Lyon and Alexey Tyryshkin – managed to set a new record, bringing the time of control over the electron spin to 10 seconds.
In the experiments, we used high-purity silicon. As a test object, the scientists used a small silicon chip made in the form of a pencil and containing practically only one element – an isotope of silicon (silicon-28).
During the experiments, a silicon rod was placed in a cylinder containing helium. The helium temperature was previously reduced to absolute zero. After that, the cylinder was positioned between two controlled magnets. With the help of a computer, physicists, using microwaves, coordinated about 100 billion electrons.
The concept of “spin” is often used to describe the behavior of electrons in physics. However, things are a little more complicated in quantum mechanics. For electrons, spin appears to be the main characteristic that describes how electrons can behave like tiny magnets. Unlike everyday life, small subatomic particles exist in accordance with the laws of quantum mechanics, that is, the location of electrons can be the same in the same period of time. Thus, the electron spin can be in the “up” and “down” positions, or simultaneously in the “up-down” position (superposition).
The possibility of using electrons in their superposition makes it possible to include in the computer code, in addition to the unambiguous “there is a signal” (1) and “no signal” (0), also an indefinite state of an electron in a superposition.
Such conclusions allow predicting the imminent appearance of software codes that will allow breaking other cryptographic codes or imitating the nature of the behavior of molecules.