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MIT Research Shows New Magnetic State That Could Aid Quantum Computing 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-new-spin-on-things dept.
alphadogg writes "Researchers at MIT and other institutions have demonstrated a new type of magnetism, only the third kind ever found, and it may find its way into future communications, computing and data storage technologies. Working with a tiny crystal of a rare mineral that took 10 months to make, the researchers for the first time have demonstrated a magnetic state called a QSL (quantum spin liquid), according to MIT physics professor Young Lee. He is the lead author of a paper on their findings, which is set to be published in the journal Nature this week (abstract). Theorists had said QSLs might exist, but one had never been demonstrated before. 'We think it's pretty important,' Lee said, adding that he would let his peers be the ultimate judges."
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MIT Research Shows New Magnetic State That Could Aid Quantum Computing

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    How do they work?


    • How do they work?

      The magnets attract, the magnets repel - never a miscommunication. You can't explain that.

      • SUPERCONDUCTIVITY? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Could this quantum spin liquid somehow help create room temperature superconductors? Because I once read that the formation of magnetic vortices is one of the things that helps to disrupt superconductive flow as temperature and current increase. But if this spin liquid were to keep all the magnetic spins randoma and unaligned, maybe this could suppress those vortices from forming?

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @09:34PM (#42355003)
    TFA quote with translation:

    ... but we're still very early into this research," Lee said. "It's many, many years away [xkcd.com] from becoming something that's in a technology that a consumer would use."

    • TFA never made claims that consumer products using this material were anywhere close at all. It's about the science at this point, not applications.

  • fancy lies (Score:4, Informative)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @09:44PM (#42355075)
    This isn't "another type of magnetism." + and - attracting is + and - attracting. What they're talking about is a different expression of magnetism, typically because the atoms inside are lined up differently.
    If I remember correctly, type one is all of em pointing the same way. That makes a field that sucks in other oppositely aligned materials.
    Type two has approximately 50% facing one way and 50% the other in a perfectly intermingled way so it has a magnetic field of absolutely nothing in relation to other objects around it.
    This third time is all of the atoms constantly changing magnetic direction and never settle into an order ever. They have a tendency to settle into an order so yeah, not easy to make, lol. Although the atoms themselves aren't moving, cuz it's a solid crystal, so this sort of acts like a perpetual motion device for magnetic fields only, not matter. Kinda neat. But it's still + and - attracting so sorry folks, no new force of physics.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Have all those perpetual motion motor genorator people have the holy grail now?

      • by kimvette (919543)

        Have all those perpetual motion motor genorator people have the holy grail now?

        From the parent:

        it has a magnetic field of absolutely nothing in relation to other objects around it.

        What do you think?

        • I didn't say it would move other objects :-P I said the magnetic field only is constantly moving in every single atom without any power being used to do so. The atoms aren't moving, just their "magnetic moment" which is why it doesn't violate physics but is quite a bit like a perpetual motion machine.
    • by mikael (484)

      Quasi-periodic tiling of magnetic spin axii?

    • What they're talking about is a different expression of magnetism, typically because the atoms inside are lined up differently.

      ...and even then they forget that there is paramagnetism and diamagnetism.

      • by manu0601 (2221348) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:24PM (#42355861)

        ...and even then they forget that there is paramagnetism and diamagnetism.

        Let's try to sum up

        • Diamagnetism: the material reacts to a magnetic field by createing a magnetic field in the opposite direction
        • Paramagnetism: the material reacts to a magnetic field by createing a magnetic field in the same direction
        • Ferromagnetism: the magnetic dipoles in the material are ordered and the material produces an intrinsic magnetic field
        • Antiferromagnetism: the magnetic dipoles in the material are ordered counter each other magnetic field
        • What-they-found-magnetism: someone can explain?
        • Dia and Para are both type 1, just in opposite directions, lol.
        • by slew (2918)

          Of course you are missing the obvious... They seem to have demonstrated a state of magnetism where is might be possible to demostrate yet another macro-quantum effect.

          As I understand it, one way to think of a Quantum Spin Liquid (or Glass), is that you have a bunch of magnetic domains embedded in a crystaline structure such that there is no stable anti-ferromagnetic pairing (there's no particular energetic reason for a specific two to pair to cancel each other out vs them forming pairs with other neighbors

    • It kind of is. The magnetic field behaves like a liquid while the atomic structure is in a solid crystal.
      So your "Type one" is the magnetic field is aligned with the atomic structure.
      Your "Type two" is the magnetic field is aligned (cancelled out) with the atomic structure.
      In this new type, the field is in a liquid state while the structure is solid.

      Explain how that is not a different state. (by the way, there is no claim it is a new 'type of magnetism', it's about the state of it) It's also already been th

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      sorry charlie, magnetic fields have no sources or sinks. they are always loops. there is no + and - in a magnetic field. there is a direction vector

    • by jonadab (583620)
      Actually, there are different kinds of magnetic materials.

      First, most famously, there's ferromagnetism, named thusly because iron famously exhibits it. So does steel and I think nickel. Rare earth magnets are also this kind. A ferromagnetic material will stick to a magnet and can be used to make permanent magnets (e.g., by melting it and then allowing it to harden while exposed to a magnetic field).

      Second, also well known even among gradeschool children, materials such as copper won't (normally) stick to
  • Did anyone else read this as particles on one side of the crystal affect the magnetic moment of the particles on the other side of the crystal instantly (so sort of like an entangled particle) but if you took a hammer and smashed the crystal in two, it probably wouldn't work so well anymore? So you could never split up two halves of the crystal to have a practical instantaneous long range communication unless you make a single piece 10,000 foot long crystal or something.
    • No such thing as instantaneous anyway, magnetic fields propagate at the speed of light. At best, it's the magnetic equivalent of a superconductor. Not that such a thing would be uninteresting, but we're not violating any laws of physics.

      • by Guignol (159087)
        They are talking about entangled states, so yes there is something 'instantaneous' (spooky action at a distance) but it indeed does not violate any law of QED.
    • by TexVex (669445) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:46PM (#42355597)
      Look, the Ansible is not possible with quantum entanglement. Also, the original science fiction concept of the Ansible did not involve quantum entanglement. A fictional Ansible is built from a fictional particle that exists simultaneously in two locations and never decays. For an Ansible to work, there must be a special frame of reference in Relativity, but General Relativity does not allow for treating any frame differently from any other frame.

      Entanglement is the splitting of a bit of quantum information across two interactions. Neither of the two interactions can possibly have any effect on the other; all that happens is that the entangled measurements from both interactions sum to zero. Every interaction between particles either creates entanglement or destroys it or performs some combination of the two.

      Consider that they must sum to zero in every frame of reference under General Relativity: no interaction can determine the results of another because then there would exist some frame of reference where the effect would precede the cause.

      That's the bonkers thing about entanglement: it implies determinism but also sidesteps it at the same time.
    • by PPH (736903)

      If it were possible to split a crystal and communicate between two entangled halves (assume no FTL, causality violations, etc.), the technology would be classified and locked up immediately. No government, particularly our own, would tolerate the existence of a communications system that operated over an uninterceptable medium.

      • You do know that quantum entanglement does exactly that and they got it to work over like 14 feet or something, right?
        • If it were possible to split a crystal and communicate

          You do know that quantum entanglement does exactly that, right?

          You do know that it doesn't, right?

  • ...it's just like cold fusion. Always on the horizon.
    • recently Hitachi has replicated Mitsubishi's "low energy nuclear transmutation".

      to be able to understand how confused you are start with reading this peer reviewed paper from 2002: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/IwamuraYelementalaa.pdf

      better stop using "cold fusion" as an example for crackpot science.

  • As somebody essentially bereft of understanding of this 'quantum' stuff, I refuse to be satisfied until MIT develops a new magnetic state that both aids and hinders quantum computing until disturbed, at which point it only does one or the other!

  • ... that the only commercially exploitable deposits of Herbertsmithite crystals are found in China.

  • I didn't even know there were two.
  • We only knew two kinds of magnetism, now there is another one found.
    This new one should be called tri-polar disorder... I propose third of march as 'world tripolar day'!
  • Theorists had said QSLs might exist, but one had never been demonstrated before.

    I call BS! [google.com]

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