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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Computer Built Inside Diamond

A team of researchers has created the first quantum computer inside a diamond.

Diamonds are a scientist's best friend, especially now that a team, including two scientists from USC, has built a quantum computer inside of a diamond.

The computer is the first of its kind to protect against "decoherence"-noise, which keeps the computer from working properly, researchers say.  

The functioning quantum computer inside the diamond potentially represents the future of quantum computing. Although the computer is small right now, it can be easily manipulated to compete with larger, traditional computers.

The team is composed of USC professor Daniel Lidar and USC postdoctoral researcher Zhihui Wang, as well as researchers from the Delft Univeristy of Technology in the Netherlands, Iowa State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The diamond quantum computer system included two quantum bits (qubits) made of subatomic particles. These qubits can encode a one and a zero at the same time, unlike traditional computer bits which can only encode a one or a zero. This allows for quantum computers to eventually calculate much faster than current computers. 

"What it does is if it finally would be scaled out up to the size of like a classical computer, it would process much faster," Dr. Wang said.

The team used impurities found within the diamond, including a nitrogen nucleus and an electron to form qubits. Microwave pulses continually switch the direction of the electron spin rotation, making this solid-state computing system the first to incorporate decoherence protection. 

The team used "Grover's algorithm" to see how closely the computer enclosed in the diamond matched the function of a quantum computer.

This algorithm is a search of an unsorted database. Instead of trying multiple times to find the correct choice, quantum computers can find it much more quickly. The quantum computer searching through an unsorted list of four choices gets the correct choice at about 95 percent of the time, which shows that it functions in quantum fashion. 


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too bad this happened with usc scientists, and not notre dame scientists, who are about to make a nano-tech breakthrough...

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