Another Step Towards Large Quantum Computers

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The team of scientists have encoded quantum information using simple electrical pulses for the first time, a encouraging breakthrough in the field of quantum computers. Instead of storing data on transistors and hard drives, quantum computers use the quantum states of microscopic objects known as qubits to encode data, according to The Economic Times.

Quantum computers move forward

Researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have become the first in the world to show single-atom spin qubits in silicon. Previous research at the university demonstrated control of these qubits at an accuracy over more than 99%, and also set a world record for the length of time that quantum information could be stored in a solid state.

The encoding of quantum information using electrical impulses is a major step in bringing quantum computers to the wider population. “We demonstrated that a highly coherent qubit, like the spin of a single phosphorus atom in isotopically enriched silicon, can be controlled using electric fields, instead of using pulses of oscillating magnetic fields,” said study lead author Dr Arne Laucht, post-doctoral researcher at UNSW.

According to UNSW Associate Professor Andrea Morello, the method uses a localized electric field to distort the shape of the electron cloud attached to the atom. “This distortion at the atomic level has the effect of modifying the frequency at which the electron responds. Therefore, we can selectively choose which qubit to operate. It’s a bit like selecting which radio station we tune to, by turning a simple knob. Here, the ‘knob’ is the voltage applied to a small electrode placed above the atom,” said Morello.

Reducing development and production costs

Scientists believe that cheaply-produced voltage generators could be used to locally control individual qubits with electric fields, instead of more expensive high-frequency microwave sources. Another major advance is that these quantum bits are relatively cheap to make because they use a similar technology to that used in the production of existing computers.

If researchers can succeed in driving down the costs of development and production of quantum computers, we could see the first commercial examples sooner than previously thought.

The journal Science Advances published the original paper.

 

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About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com

1 Comment on "Another Step Towards Large Quantum Computers"

  1. This is great! I hope that after it is built it can outlast a modern Laptop. I understand only part of this new computer, and I wonder what will it be used for on, or off this planet.

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