Researchers led by the University of St Andrews, Scotland, have made a breakthrough in the field of quantum computing through the utilization of a cuprous oxide gemstone mined in Namibia.
Quantum computing has been dubbed the holy grail of science, but current quantum computers remain too small to outperform current standard computers.
The research, published in Nature Materials, was achieved through a partnership between scientists at Harvard University in Boston, USA, Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark.
The team used cuprous oxide (Cu2O) to create Rydberg polaritons. Rydberg polaritons continuously bounce back from light to matter and are crucial for the creation of quantum simulators, which are stored in quantum bits.
Quantum bits can use any value between 0 and 1, while binary bits, used in classical computers, can only be 0 or 1, allowing quantum bits to store far more information and perform several processes simultaneously.
The belief is that quantum computing will allow scientists to solve increasingly complex problems in a fraction of the time. To create Rydberg polaritons, the team of researchers used two highly reflective mirrors to trap light.
Then they inserted the cuprous oxide crystal, thinned and polished it into a 30-micrometer thick slab, and placed it between the two mirrors. The results were Rydberg polaritons 100 times larger than ever displayed before.
According to Dr. Sai Kiran Rajendran, one of the leading authors of the study, purchasing the cuprous oxide crystal stone on eBay was the easy part. The challenge was to make Rydberg polaritons that exist in an extremely narrow color range.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2022.