Ordinary chemical with an extraordinary property to be used in quantum computation

Copper Phtalocyanine Blue (Credit: Wikipedia)

Main Point:

Researchers have reported that a common blue pigment, copper phthalocyanine (CuPc), could be used potentially in the making of quantum computer.

Published in:

Nature

Study Further:

Copper phthalocyanine (CuPc):

It is also known as Phthalocyanine Blue BN, Monastral blue and phthalo blue. It is a semiconductor and is similar to the light harvesting part of the chlorophyll molecule.

It is commonly used in paints and dyes. It is also used in the £5 note.

It is usually resistant to alkalies and acids.

Phthalocyanine thin film on a flexible plastic substrate, showing the coexistence of long-lived "0" and "1" qubits on the copper spin (Credit: Credit: Phil Bushell, Sandrine Heutz and Gabriel Aeppli)

Quantum computing:

Quantum computing is the form of computing in which the atomic and subatomic particles do not obey the laws of classical Newtonian physics.

Most important aspect of the quantum computing is the process of “superposition” in which the electrons have the ability to remain in two states at once, i.e. qubits, instead of normal one state of the two that are “0” and “1”, i.e. classical ordinary bits.

Longer time in superposition shows the stability of quantum computing.

“In theory, a quantum computer can easily solve problems that a normal, classical, computer would not be able to answer in the lifetime of the universe. We just don’t know how to build one yet,” said lead author Marc Warner from the London Centre for Nanotechnology.

Present Research:

Researchers, in the present study, have found that the electrons in CuPc can remain in superposition for significantly longer times.

“Fundamental quantities in spintronics are the population relaxation time (T1) and the phase memory time (T2): T1 measures the lifetime of a classical bit, in this case embodied by a spin oriented either parallel or antiparallel to an external magnetic field, and T2 measures the corresponding lifetime of a quantum bit, encoded in the phase of the quantum state. Here we establish that these times are surprisingly long for a common, low-cost and chemically modifiable organic semiconductor, the blue pigment copper phthalocyanine,” Researchers wrote in the paper.

“Our research shows that a common blue dye has more potential for quantum computing than many of the more exotic molecules that have been considered previously,” Dr Warner said.

Moreover, CuPc is found to have other properties that could increase its potential to be used in quantum computing such as its strong ability to absorb visible light and its easy chemical and physical modification enabling scientists to control its magnetic and electrical properties.

“The properties of copper phthalocyanine make it of interest for the emerging field of quantum engineering, which seeks to exploit the quantum properties of matter to perform tasks like information processing or sensing more effectively than has ever been possible,” Dr Warner added.

References:

New material for quantum computing discovered out of the blue – Eurekalert (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/ucl-nmf102513.php)

Marc Warner et al. (2013). Potential for spin-based information processing in a thin-film molecular semiconductor Nature DOI: 10.1038/nature12597

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."