Buckminsterfullerene, C60, is now the largest molecule that has ever been analyzed for quantum vibrations. Fully understanding and controlling the quantum details of buckyballs could lead to quantum computers using molecules.
Buckyballs could act like a pristine network of 60 atoms. The core of each atom would have an identical nuclear spin. Each spin would act as a magnetically controlled quantum bit or “qubit” in a quantum computer.
C60 has 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (100 Septillion) vibrational quantum states when the molecule is warm.
These experiments are the start of a new area for fullerene research. The buffer-gas cooling establishes the possibility of similar studies on larger fullerenes such as C70 and endofullerenes.
Pure 13C60 represents a pristine example of a spin-½ network on a spherical lattice. Carbon-13 (13C) is a natural, stable isotope of carbon with a nucleus containing six protons and seven neutrons. Carbon-13 makes up about 1.1% of all natural carbon on Earth.
Using precise molecules for qubits should greatly reduce error rates and increase the duration of quantum states. However, there are still many massive challenges to realizing useful applications with such challenging molecular technology.
Precision spectroscopy of such targets is the first step toward single quantum state preparation and control of large molecular systems.
Rovibrational spectroscopy is easy for small and light molecules. Large molecules are exponentially more difficult to perform high-resolution measurements.
C60 has a molecular mass of 720 which is about three times the mass of a molecule of Uranium.
SOURCES – NIST, Journal Science
Written By Brian Wang. Nextbigfuture.com