Researchers in Australia have found a new way to build quantum computers using a'flip flop' chip design. Quantum computers promise to harness the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at a time. This could allow them to solve problems that are too complex or time-consuming for existing computers. It could also pave the way for machines that are completely impenetrable to hackers using conventional methods of attack. Researchers in Australia have found a new way to build quantum computers which they say would make them dramatically easier and cheaper to produce at scale.
The race to create superfast computers is accelerating. A rethink of one of the most fundamental parts of a quantum computer could pave the way for ultra-powerful devices. Andrea Morello at the University of New South Wales in Australia and his colleagues have a design for a qubit – the smallest unit of quantum information – that could help get round some of the difficulties of manufacturing quantum computers at an atomic scale. At the moment, making quantum systems using silicon is difficult because the qubits have to be very close to each other, about 10 to 20 nanometres apart, in order to communicate. This leaves little room to place the electronics needed to make a quantum computer work.
Engineers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have created a new quantum bit (qubit) which remains in a stable superposition for 10 times longer than previously achieved, expanding the time during which calculations could be performed in a future silicon quantum computer. According to Arne Laucht, a Research Fellow at the School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications at UNSW, the new qubit, made up of the spin of a single atom in silicon and merged with an electromagnetic field -- known as a dressed qubit -- retains quantum information for much longer that an "undressed" atom, which opens up new avenues quantum computer creation. The Australian-based team said the race to building a quantum computer has been called the "space race of the 21st century" as it is both a difficult and ambitious challenge to undertake. The appeal, however, is the potential to deliver revolutionary tools for tackling otherwise impossible calculations, such as the design of complex drugs and advanced materials, or the rapid search of large-scale, unsorted databases. Explaining the importance of the breakthrough, Andrea Morello, leader of the research team and a Program Manager in the Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology (CQC2T) at UNSW, said its speed and power lies in the fact that quantum systems can host multiple "superpositions" of different initial states, treated as inputs in a computer that all get processed at the same time.
Building a quantum computer has been called the'space race of the 21st century' – a difficult and ambitious challenge, with the potential to deliver revolutionary tools. Now an invention by engineers in Australia may have brought us one step closer to achieving the goal. The team designed a new kind of quantum bit, which can retain information for 10 times longer than ever previously achieved. The new quantum bit, known as a'dressed qubit' has been designed by researchers at the University of New South Wales, and is made up of the spin of a single atom in silicon, merged with an electromagnetic field (artist's impression) Quantum computing takes advantage of the ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time. In traditional computers, data is expressed in one of two states – known as binary bits – which are either a 1 or a 0. But quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits.
A scanning tunnelling microscope image showing the electron wave function of a qubit made from a phosphorus atom precisely positioned in silicon. Scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have announced making two atom quantum bits (qubits) "talk" to each other in silicon, providing the ability to see their exact position in the solid state. The team, led by Director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) -- and recent recipient of the Australian of the Year award -- UNSW Professor Michelle Simmons, created the atom qubits by precisely positioning and encapsulating individual phosphorus atoms within a silicon chip. The information is stored on the quantum spin of a single phosphorus electron, the university said. "In placing our phosphorus atoms in the silicon to make a qubit, we have demonstrated that we can use a scanning probe to directly measure the atom's wave function, which tells us its exact physical location in the chip.