Scientists create quantum system that can correct errors itself

American scientists have developed a system to detect and correct errors in quantum information, which is necessary for the development of the quantum computer. The researchers are working together with Google.

It is a system that works with a total of nine qubits, elementary particles that are used in quantum computers to store information. Conventional bits can only take the values ​​0 and 1. By contrast, the principle of superposition allows qubits to take on all possible values ​​at the same time, as long as no measurement takes place. However, this principle also makes a quantum system sensitive to disturbances.

Researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara have now built into their quantum system a way to detect errors in information stored in qubits and then correct them. Several qubits work together and store the same information: then this information is compared with each other. It detects whether a qubit deviates from the rest. In addition, the actual quantum state does not have to be measured, which would disrupt the principle of superposition. In this way the correct information can still be read.

According to the scientists, Google has already shown interest in the research. They are now working together with the internet giant. The company may be interested in the system for an application in quantum computers. Detection and correction of errors is important for its development: at present it is not yet possible to store qubits long enough to serve as storage for information.