Toward a silicon-based quantum computer


Quantum computing could enable exponential speedups for certain classes of problems by exploiting superposition and entanglement in the manipulation of quantum bits (qubits). The leading quantum systems that can be used include trapped ions, superconducting qubits, and spins in semiconductors. The latter are considered particularly promising for scaling to very large numbers of qubits. On page 439 of this issue, Zajac et al. (1) demonstrate a quantum operation involving two qubits in silicon (Si), which is a major step for the field of semiconductor qubits. Together with easier-to-achieve manipulation of single qubits, these operations represent the basic steps of any quantum algorithm.

Shoot an atom into silicon, and you may have the beginnings of a quantum computer


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.

Flip-flop qubits: UNSW conceives 'radical' quantum computing design


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.

Intel's quantum computing efforts take a major step forward


It's been almost three months since Intel announced a 17-qubit superconducting chip, meant to pave the way for a future powered by quantum computers. Today at CES, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich showed off its latest superconducting test chip, the 49-qubit "Tangle Lake."

Australia and France strike quantum deal


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.