A research team from Australia led by eminent quantum physicist Professor Michelle Simmons has announced a significant breakthrough in quantum computing, which researchers hope could result in substantial increases in computing power in the coming decade.
Michelle Simmons, who is also a former ‘Australian of the Year’ and her research team made the announcement in a paper that was published in the Nature Journal, that the team was able to create the first two-qubit gate between atom cubits in a silicon platform. This development would allow the qubits to communicate with each other in 0.8 nanoseconds, approximately 200 times faster than any older system.
A qubit is the equivalent of a bit in quantum computing. The new design has been developed from a individual phosphorus atoms in silicon. Further, in standard computing a bit can exist only in one of two states a 0 or a 1. On the other hand, qubits can be 1s or 0s at the same time, which is known in the field as superposition.
As qubits can exist in both states simultaneously, qubits can problem computing problems substantially faster that what bits are capable of, thereby allowing faster processing that the standard computers of today.
Use of Silicon Minimized Electric Noise in System
A gate of 2 qubits works in a similar manner to logic gates in conventional computing. Simmons’ team at the University of South Wales was able to achieve their target by pushing the atom qubits closer than has ever been done before to a distance of only 13 nanometers, while controllably observing and measuring the spin states of the atoms in real time.
Further the atoms were placed in silicon after the optimal distance had been worked out with the use of a scanning tunneling microscope. For quantum computing to reach scale for regular use, reduction in error rates is considered to be a high priority activity.
Further, according to the research team, the usage of silicon has allowed them to demo that by using circuitry at the atomic scale, the team has managed to create a system connected to a semiconductor qubit with a record low in electrical noise.