Stability in asymmetry: Scientists extend qubit lifetimes

Scientists demonstrate a new method for stretching the length of time qubits can maintain information — by disrupting the symmetry of their environment.

What happened

Scientists have demonstrated that they can extend the lifetime of a molecular qubit by altering the surrounding crystal’s structure to be less symmetrical.

The asymmetry protects the qubit from noise, enabling it to maintain information for five times longer than if it were housed in a symmetrical structure. The research team achieved a coherence time — the time the qubit maintains information — of 10 microseconds, or 10 millionths of a second, compared to the 2 microsecond coherence time of a molecular qubit in a symmetrical crystal host.

“This newfound ability to chemically control the host environment opens up new space for targeted applications of molecular qubits.” — Danna Freedman, MIT

The result, published in Physical Review X, comes from a team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, MIT, Northwestern University, The University of Chicago and the University of Glasgow. The result is supported in part by Q-NEXT, a DOE National Quantum Information Science Research Center led by Argonne.

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