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Physicists Discover Strange New Phase of Matter in Experiment With Quantum Computers

With faster speeds and the ability to run multiple algorithms at once, quantum computers can help solve some of the biggest technological issues facing our society. Because quantum computers rely on so-called qubits–atoms whose nuclear magnetic spin levels are manipulated to achieve a qubit state–strange things sometimes happen inside these devices.

Case in point, a new one study physicists have made a surprising, newly seen round the thing with two possible dimensions of time, all by passing a special laser pulse inside a quantum computer.

Background: Two Dimensions of Time

The time dimension has always been a puzzling variable for physicists when studying how the universe works. Called the fourth dimension, time flows unilaterally, making it seem impossible to have more than one dimension of time.

However, physicists have long speculated that there might be more rather than a time dimension. These extras dimensions be similar or more compact, depending on the theory you subscribe to. For researchers looking at quantum computers, this second dimension of time seems to extend the amount of time a qubit can be probed.

Analysis: Quantum Computers and Fibonacci

To create this multi-dimensional phase of matter, physicists at the Flatiron’s Institute center for Computational Quantum Physics, with the quantum company lineup projected in a special laser sequence, based on Fibonacci order, to the heart of the quantum computer. This special sequence is a mathematical series where each number is the sum of the two numbers before it. Using this sequence for laser pulses allows the entire quantum computer to be more stable, which allows for better results. This stability comes from the irregularity of the timing of the laser pulses, as some are longer than others. Irregularity removes most of the ambient noise that affects a quantum computer.

Quantum computers are very fragile systems. The researchers used a quantum computer made of ytterbium qubits, which are very delicate. This weakness limits the amount of time that qubits can be analyzed without significant errors. The use of rhythmic laser pulses, such as the Fibonacci sequence, helps make the system more robust and less prone to error. The researchers, using this sequence, found that the time to analyze the qubit seemed to double, suggesting a second dimension of time.

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According to the researcher Philip Dumitrescu, “With this quasi-periodic sequence, there is a complex evolution that cancels out all the errors that live on the edge. Because of that, the edge remains quantum-mechanically. correspondent [in the readable state] much, much longer than you expect.”

Perspective: Getting Closer to Quantum Computers

This longer readable state may not sound like much, but it actually has significant implications for quantum computing in general. Scientists can use this new state to develop better error correction methods, making computing more accurate. Therefore, it appears that computer scientists are one step closer to achieving the long-sought goal of quantum supremacy.

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is a staff writer for Debrief and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). His writing beats include deep technology, the metaverse, and quantum technology. You can see more of his work on his website:

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