National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) physicists have demonstrated a version of quantum computer memory that lasts longer than 10 seconds, more than 100,000 times longer than previous experiments with charged atoms (ions). These experiments pave the way for reliable quantum computers that will not be harnessed to the limitations of transistors and silicon-based hardware.
The principles of quantum mechanics allow for superpositions, in which a bit of memory may represent both 0 and 1 at the same time. The recent experiments, using beryllium ions, have created a less volatile data storage medium with a useful storage period over a million times longer than is necessary to enable quantum data processing.
The scientists at NIST have made a great leap forward in the development of quantum memory. Rather than relying on data backup and duplication to create a fault tolerant environment, the longer lasting memory may serve to protect data bits while they are being used for calculations and processing.
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