Qubits, the unit of information used by quantum computers, make use of a phenomenon known as "superposition" wherein they can exist in two separate quantum states simultaneously. Theoretically, they'd enable computers to perform a variety of tasks far faster than conventional desktops by performing simultaneous computations in parallel. The problem is that qubits tend to be very unstable which prevents the information the contain from being read. However, a team of researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia may have finally tamed the elusive qubit. "We have created a new quantum bit where the spin of a single electron is merged together with a strong electromagnetic field," Arne Laucht, a Research Fellow at UNSW, said in a statement.
Blake Johnson spends a lot of time thinking about things like superconducting cables and supercooled refrigerators. As the vice president of quantum engineering at Rigetti Computing, a startup that makes quantum computers, Johnson is responsible for finding and acquiring the components needed to put the machines together. It's challenging, because what was once an esoteric, experimental technology is morphing into more of a mainstream one championed by giant companies such as IBM, Google, and China's Alibaba, as well as by ambitious startups like Rigetti and IonQ. As a result, demand is growing much faster than supply in some critical areas. For instance, it can take many months--and sometimes a year or more--to get hold of specialized dilution refrigerators that can be cooled to temperatures colder than outer space to help create quantum bits, or qubits, which are the key to quantum computers' power.
Take one atom of the element antimony, use an ion beam to shoot it into a silicon substrate, and you just may be on your way to building a working quantum computer. That's according to researchers at Sandia National Laboratories, who announced this week that they've used that technique with promising results. In their experiment, described in the journal Applied Physics Letters, the researchers used an ion beam generator to insert the antimony atom into an industry-standard silicon substrate -- a process that took just microseconds. That atom, equipped with five electrons, carries one more than a silicon atom does. Because electrons pair up, the odd antimony electron remains free.
Engineers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have announced the invention of a "radical" architecture for quantum computing, essentially allowing quantum bits (qubits) -- the basic unit of information in a quantum computer -- to be placed hundreds of nanometres apart and still remain coupled. The invention is based on novel "flip-flop qubits" that UNSW said promises to make the large-scale manufacture of quantum chips dramatically cheaper and easier. To operate the flip-flop qubit, researchers need to pull the electron away from the nucleus, using the electrodes at the top; doing so creates an electric dipole. The conceptual breakthrough is the creation of an entirely new type of qubit using both the nucleus and the electron. The new chip design allows for a silicon quantum processor that can be scaled up without the precise placement of atoms required in other approaches.