Latest in Science

Image credit:

Newly discovered magnetism is a big boost for quantum computers

Quantum spin liquids are real, and might be the future of technology.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 5, 2016
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Welcomia via Getty Images

Until now, humanity has only known two forms of magnetism: ferromagnetism (the kind you see on your fridge) and antiferromagnetism (a sort of negative magnetism found in hard drives). However, MIT researchers just confirmed the existence of a third kind... and it could be the key to making quantum computing a practical reality. The team made and supercooled a crystal that exhibits a quantum spin liquid state, where the magnetic directions of each particle never line up. That odd behavior, in turn, leads to quantum entanglement (in which distant particles affect each other's magnetism) that would be ideal for computers.

If scientists learn how to consistently produce and control that entanglement in the future, they could create reliable quantum computers -- you could flip qubits (quantum bits) without worrying that nearby materials will throw it off. That's no mean feat when MIT was using a decidedly rare mineral just to get things going. However, this could be a crucial starting point for technology that will be useful years down the road.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

NVIDIA apologizes for RTX 3080 order chaos

NVIDIA apologizes for RTX 3080 order chaos

View
You’ll need more than $299 to truly enjoy next-gen gaming

You’ll need more than $299 to truly enjoy next-gen gaming

View
TikTok and WeChat will be banned from US app stores on Sunday

TikTok and WeChat will be banned from US app stores on Sunday

View
'Cyberpunk 2077' won't require a high-end gaming rig

'Cyberpunk 2077' won't require a high-end gaming rig

View
Confused about which console to buy? Just wait.

Confused about which console to buy? Just wait.

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr