Researchers store information in the nucleus of an atom

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Researchers have developed a way to both manipulate and store data in quantum bits for extended periods of time by combining properties of electrons and atomic nuclei.

Employees at Oxford and Princeton Universities and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have a way developed to store data in the nucleus of an atom for one and three quarters of a second. The researchers used silicon crystals made up of the isotope 28Si and phosphorus atoms. Both the atomic nucleus and the electron behaved like a quantum magnet in which data could be stored.

Thanks to its relatively strong magnetic field, the electron lends itself best to manipulation. Reading the stored quantum information is also easy to achieve with the electrons. The information stored in the electrons can be transferred to the nucleus of the atom. At its core, the information can be stored for longer than the limit, the time it takes to store data through conventional means. The researchers realized more than a hundred seconds of storage time: the former record stood at a few tens of milliseconds. The use of silicon would also make a quantum computer more compatible with conventional computers.