In the quantum realm, at least insofar as we can understand, particles are in a state of superposition, wherein they exist in two or more states simultaneously -- a cat that is both dead and alive, so to speak. However, this "coherence" lasts for only a fraction of a second before the whole system decoheres -- a phenomenon that marks the transition from the realm of quantum to classical mechanics. The fact that a coherent quantum state is short-lived is what allows reality as we know it to exist, but, for researchers looking to exploit superposition to create quantum computers, this presents a major roadblock. For these researchers, looking for ways to least delay decoherence -- thereby preserving the state of superposition that makes quantum computers so much faster than their conventional counterparts -- is a key goal. Read: Schrödinger's Cat Is Now Dead And Alive In Two Boxes Now, in a study published in the latest edition of the journal Quantum Science and Technology, a team of researchers has demonstrated the storage and retrieval of quantum information in a single atom of phosphorus embedded in a silicon crystal.
The New South Wales government has announced funding a new initiative aimed at getting university students engaged with quantum computing. The AU$15.4 million Sydney Quantum Academy (SQA) initiative will see the University of Sydney (USyd), University of New South Wales (UNSW), Macquarie University, and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) encourage students to work with each other and train across the four universities. It is expected the funding will also be used to link students to industry through internships and research; support the development of quantum technology startup businesses; and promote Sydney as a quantum computing hub. The NSW government funding, combined with current university and future industry support, sees the total investment in the SQA pinned at around AU$35 million. "Our new investment will secure a pipeline of highly skilled quantum engineers, software experts and technicians to build and program these incredible machines as the technology becomes reality," Deputy Premier John Barilaro said.
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.
Australia and France have announced a partnership that will see both countries work together on quantum computing. Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and President of France Emmanuel Macron said the partnership is the "tangible next step" in the development of a silicon quantum computer. Under the MoU, Australia's first quantum computing company, Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC), and France's research and development (R&D) organisation, the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA), will form a joint venture in silicon CMOS quantum computing technology that will see a focus on technology development, as well as commercialisation opportunities, as they strive to develop a quantum computer. The organisations are striving towards the manufacture and industrialisation of quantum computing hardware. SQC was launched in August to take advantage of and commercialise the work done by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in the quantum space.