Quantum computers have revolutionized the way scientists analyze quantum systems, being able to perform tasks and calculations that previously could take thousands of years. It is using one of these that a group of researchers seems to have identified a new state of matter with very curious properties, since it manages to be in two dimensions of time simultaneously.
Quantum devices work using quantum bits, or qubits for short. They are basically the quantum equivalent of the bits used in traditional computing. What the researchers did was pulse light into the qubits in a pattern based on the Fibonacci sequence, a sequence of numbers in which each subsequent term corresponds to the sum of the two preceding ones.
While computational bits process information at either 0 or 1, qubits can be both at the same time. However, this superposition can be unstable and largely depends on how the qubits interact with their surroundings. Normally, they react with practically any kind of matter, which makes the work of scientists quite complicated.
“Even if you keep all the atoms in tight control, they can lose their quantum by talking to their environment, heating up or interacting with things in ways you didn’t plan for,” explains Philipp Dumitrescu of the Flatiron Institute, lead author of the research.
New state of matter
However, the new research manages to keep the qubits pretty stable. This could allow the creation of an error-free quantum computer and open the door to even more revolutionary research. “Using an “extra” time dimension approach “is a completely different way of thinking about the phases of matter,” adds Dumitrescu.
One way to do this is to use symmetry properties, such as the shape of a snowflake or a honeycomb. However, the researchers went further and created “quasicrystals”, which remain crystals, with a regular structure but without repeating patterns, like the shape of the Penrose Tile, for example.
Dumitrescu and colleagues then created a sequence of laser pulses based on the Fibonacci numbers. In the periodic test, the edge qubits remained quantum for about 1.5 seconds, an impressive duration given that the qubits were interacting strongly with each other.
“Although the findings demonstrate that the new phase of matter can act as a long-term storage of quantum information, researchers still need to functionally integrate the phase with the computational side of quantum computing,” the results say.
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