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The next generation of computers may make use of the "spin" of electrons instead of their charge.


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Such states, in which an object is effectively in two places at once, have until now only been accomplished with single particles, atoms and molecules. In this experiment, published in the journal Nature, scientists produced a quantum state in an object billions of times larger than previous tests.


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It uses the strange "quantum states" of matter to perform calculations in a way that, if scaled up, could vastly outperform conventional computers. The 6cm-by-6cm chip holds nine quantum devices, among them four "quantum bits" that do the calculations. The team said further scaling up to 10 qubits should be possible this year.


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Researchers have devised a penny-sized silicon chip that uses photons to run Shor's algorithm - a well-known quantum approach - to solve a maths problem.


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