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Andrew Zimmerman Jones

New Record for Quantum Storage

By December 8, 2008

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The new record for storage of information in a quantum system - 7 milliseconds - is being reported in Nature Physics this week. The information is stored in a group of supercooled rubidium atoms in a dipole optical trap. This is more than two orders of magnitude greater than the previous record of 32 microseconds.

The team confined the atoms in an "optical lattice" of laser beams and put them in a "clock transition state," which meant they basically ignored magnetic fields. These two approaches, together, kept the atoms from interacting with anything else for long enough to extend the lifetime of the quantum phase information they stored within the atoms.

In fact, two different teams performed similar work, both in the December 7 issue of Nature Physics (but require payment to access - not my rule, talk to Nature).

This new record is enough time that scientists can begin looking at ways to transfer the information within the system through an optical network, and possibly eventually quantum computers. Of course, as with all breakthroughs in this realm, there are still a lot of different concepts which still have to fall into place before a useful quantum computer or quantum communication system is constructed.

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