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Are We Quantum Computers?

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Researchers will explore the brain's potential for quantum computation under the Quantum Brain Project.

University of Calfornia, Santa Barbara theoretical physicist Matthew Fisher asks,"Might we, ourselves, be quantum computers, rather than just clever robots who are designing and building quantum computers?"

Credit: M. W. Swift, C. G. Van de Walle, M. P. A. Fisher

An international team of researchers led by the University of California, Santa Barbara's Matthew Fisher will explore the brain's potential for quantum computation.

As director of the Quantum Brain Project (QuBrain), Fisher will seek clear experimental evidence to determine this potential.

"Extremely well-isolated nuclear spins can store--and perhaps process--quantum information on human time scales of hours or longer," he says.

Fisher also notes phosphorus atoms have the required nuclear spin that could function as a biochemical quantum bit (qubit). A key push of QuBrain will involve monitoring the quantum properties of phosphorus atoms, particularly entanglement between two phosphorus nuclear spins when bonded together in a molecule undergoing biochemical processes.

Other scientists will investigate the dynamics and nuclear spin of Posner molecules and whether they can shield the nuclear spins of the phosphorus atom qubits, which could promote the storage of quantum data.

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