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Entangled qubits form the basic building blocks of quantum computers and other quantum technologies, but when qubits lose their entanglement, they lose their quantum advantage over classical bits. Unfortunately, entanglement decays very quickly due to unavoidable interactions with the surrounding environment, so preserving entanglement for long enough to use it has been a key challenge for realizing quantum technologies.

In a new study, physicists have developed a way to extend the lifetime to nearly 10 milliseconds, which is about three orders of magnitude longer than the spontaneous lifetime of a few microseconds. The millisecond lifetime is long enough to implement some quantum algorithms and protocols, and is expected to be extended further in the future.

The researchers, Zhong-Xiao Man and Yun-Jie Xia at Qufu Normal University in China, along with Rosario Lo Franco at the University of Palermo in Italy, the University of São Paulo in Brazil, and The University of Nottingham in the UK, have published their paper in a recent issue of Nature's Scientific Reports.

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