Saturday, March 29, 2008

Diamonds are a Geeks best Friends

And you thought that diamonds were just for showing off...

As reported by Idex. I have no idea what this means for the future of mankind but I think this is very important.
And don't you just love qubits?

Tiny Diamond Ring Helps Researchers Solve Quantum Computer Dilemma
(March 27, '08, 4:51 IDEX Online Staff Reporter)
This 300 nanometersthick and 5 micrometerswide diamond ring was made to help develop quantum computers. (Photo: P Olivero, BFairchild and S Prawer,School of Physics,University of MelbourneResearchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia have made the world’s smallest diamond ring – 5 micrometers across and 300 nanometers thick – carved from a sliver of a lab grown diamond. They hope the tiny ring will allow them to build powerful computers that use properties of quantum physics.

According to ABC Science, the researchers hope the ring will enable them to manipulate single photons – the smallest unit or ‘packet’ of light – and help them overcome some of the obstacles to building quantum computers capable of performing enormous numbers of processes at the same time.

Although scientists know in theory how this type of quantum computer could be created, they stress that, until now, there have been many logistical barriers to creating it in the real world.

But they may have discovered part of the solution in the properties of diamonds. “For quantum information processing, diamonds have some truly unique possibilities,” explained Professor Steven Prawer, whose research team recently revealed images of the ring at a meeting of the American Physical Society.

With diamonds, Prawer explained, a scientist has an ideal way to produce qubits, the equivalent in quantum physics to bits that store information on regular computers. Although like normal bits, qubits have two different values – 0 or 1 – qubits also have the ability to exist in a state of superposition – to be in both states, or two places, at once.

Microscopic impurities in diamonds – when a single nitrogen atom and a tiny gap upsets the stone’s normal carbon structure – meet the requirements of qubits very well, said Prawer. Scientists can take advantage of the gaps by shining a laser into one, producing single photons of red light, which can be easily manipulated.

“The diamond offers a fantastic platform in order to make qubits because diamonds offer us a gift from nature,” he explained.
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