back to article Oz boffins cook quantum computing out of mothballs

A Sydney University researcher has burned naphthalene to create a material that can hold quantum qubit information at room temperatures. While the world has both quantum storage and quantum gates, albeit at small scales, even performing a simple Boolean AND operation on qubits is best undertaken as close as you can get to 0 …

  1. Unicornpiss Silver badge

    Zippo computer...

    And it's wind resistant!

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Zippo computer...

      Naphthalene != Naphtha

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    it is C<sub>10</sub>H<sub>8</sub>, not C<sub>10</sub>H<sup>8</sup>

    1. MatsSvensson

      Re: Naphthalene


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        sup vs. sub

        sup is the superscript tag, while sub is the subscript tag.

        In chemistry, these have very different meaning. Subscript following an element symbol indicates the number of atoms of a given element within a molecule. A numerical superscript preceeding an element symbol indicates a specific isotope of an element[*]. A numerical superscript following an entire chemical formula (or element symbol), usually preceded or followed by a plus or minus sign, indicates the overall charge of the species (or a localized functional group).

        Thus, C<sub>10</sub>H<sub>8</sub> [***] is a molecule containing ten carbon atoms and eight hydrogen atoms[**], while C<sub>10</sub>H<sup>8</sup> is a hypothetical[****] molecular ion consisting of ten carbon atoms, one hydrogen atom, and missing eight electrons.

        [*] E.g. <sup>14</sup>C is a common radioactive isotope of a carbon atom, <sup>12</sup>C is the most commonly occurring isotope, <sup>13</sup>C is a minor stable isotope; the element symbol without the left superscript refers to the naturally occurring isotopic mixture.

        [**] With naphthalene being one of the possible isomers; azulene is another common molecule with this molecular formula; there is a large number of other, less common isomers as well.

        [***] I apologize on el Reg's behalf for the sub- and super-scripts not being rendered properly: it looks like these tags is one of the little perks withdrawn from the committed life-long ACs.

        [****] I say hypothetical because multiply-charged molecular ions typically fragment into smaller ions; a small ion of a charge +8 will likely fragment so fast that it is better discussed as a resonance rather than a chemical species.

    2. Richard Chirgwin (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Naphthalene


  3. adnim Silver badge


    gets me into a super imposed spin state, although its not very stable at any temperature

  4. Daniel Voyce


    I am not in any way any kind of Quantum computing boffin but this sounds like a huge first step towards realistic "In my study" Quantum computers.

    Early days it could be as an analogue to the old C64 tapes, except loading in a "cartridge" of consumable Quantum substrate.

  5. Dr Patrick J R Harkin


    We store the data in chlorine [] and process it in carbon. When did Computing become Chemistry?

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: So...

      When Moore's observation ran up against the limitations of the physics of current technologies.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      computing and chemistry

      Practical computing has always been about chemistry.

      Babbage engine and pneumatic computers aside, there is very little actual computing you can do without some very advanced chemistry happening in the background. Ultimately, chemistry also puts a stop to any computing device.

      P.S. Yes, I am a chemist. I wonder why did you ask?

    3. Lotaresco

      Re: So...

      " When did Computing become Chemistry?"

      It's difficult to be precise, but I would say it has been chemistry since at least 1958 with the introduction of the IC which takes one heck of a lot of chemistry to create. You could argue further back since transistors are not much more than chemistry in a package and even thermionic valves use a lot of chemistry (such as gettering and the rare-earth oxide coated cathodes).

  6. BoldMan

    Code NIGHTMARE GREEN takes a step closer...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I would like to suggest that we start calling quantum computing HighCarbComputing (HCC) from now on.

    (Mine is the one with a book about the latest miracle diet in the pocket.)

  8. John Jennings

    This means

    That my usb key will smell like my nan?

    1. Toltec

      Re: This means

      Depends if she is sat in a chair or on the mantelpiece.

  9. alferdpacker

    "As well as being easy to fabricate, the nanospheres are also relatively easy to deposit onto a substrate, Dr Choucair, and the spin states on the nanospheres can be manipulated with an oscillating magnetic field."

    The substrate is called "Dr Choucair"? That's so cool.

  10. Swarthy Silver badge


    Putting together "metallic-like carbon nanospheres" with "resulting from burning hydrocarbon" makes me think C60 Fullerene.

  11. JCitizen


    so now spintronics is finally practical!!!

  12. Magani

    Bug fixes

    If they're using naphthalene for quantum computing, I guess there won't be any bugs in the code.

    1. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

      Re: Bug fixes

      Heh, good one.

      The slight snag here is that the readout requires low resistance so noise is going to be a problem if conventional coils are used.

      Incidentally this is also why superconductors are used in D-Wave's QPU as the problem is twofold: the Josephon junctions have to be kept at millikelvins and the readout wires (from the junctions to other parts) also have to be very cold to superconduct.

      Its actually a bit like an upside-down fridge with the most fragile part near the bottom of the cryostat.

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