Physicists Discover New Way to Store Computer Information

Physicists Discover New Way to Store Computer Information

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Ed Yeates ReportingImagine processing data in your computer from something the size of an atom, or even smaller than that.

The University of Utah has measured a mechanism that would operate on a scale of one-billionth of a meter in size. That could be the key for future super computers.

In labs at the University of Utah, physicist Christoph Boehme and his colleagues will continue walking through what appears to be a big open door now, that just might lead to the development of so-called quantum super computers.

Boehme has measured a controlled subtle electrical mechanism that could turn nanoscopic phosphorous atoms, embedded in silicone, into data processing.

We're talking about atoms and their nuclei in arrays 200-thousandths the diameter of a human hair.

Dr. Christoph Boehme/ University of Utah Physicist: "Atom size is maybe a hundred times smaller than what we have as transistors today."

Boehm's research is taking computer processing beyond classical electronics as we now know it, to systems where the smallest particles of light and matter in the brains of a computer could be in different places at the same time, reading out data from different places at the same time.

This is what's needed if future quantum super computers are to be built, systems that go way beyond today's personal computers that handle only 64 bits of data at one time.

A quantum computer is fast almost beyond comprehension. We're talking about two to the 64th power faster. That's 18 billion - billion times faster than a conventional computer.

It would be almost impossible to break down security codes in a quantum computer. But that same quantum computer could break down any codes in a conventional computer.

One of the biggest funders for quantum research is the military, where computer security and rapid data processing are high priority.

Banks and other financial companies follow a close second.

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