Why UNSW’s quantum silicon bet might pay off

Why UNSW’s quantum silicon bet might pay off

Computers were invented in order to make our lives much easier, and for that purpose, they have delivered. However, scientists have been working to develop computers that are capable of performing a large number of tasks that can solve some of the more complicated problems facing humanity- for example modelling complicated chemical reactions. Researchers are hoping that they’ll eventually be able to use quantum simulations to design entirely new molecules for use in medicine. Finally, the hope of making such a computer is closer to reality than ever. Quantum computing is one of the technologies that are going to revolutionize computers and bring us to the next stage of the computer age. Top companies such as Google and Microsoft are working to bring the dream of commercial quantum computers closer to reality.

Quantum computing takes advantage of the ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time. Due to the way these particles behave, operations can be carried out much quicker, rand use less energy than classical computers.

In classical computing, a bit is a single piece of information that can exist in two states – 1 or 0. Quantum computing uses quantum bits, or ‘qubits’ instead. These are quantum systems with two states. However, unlike a usual bit, they can store much more information than just 1 or 0, because they can exist in any superposition of these values.

Many institutions have participated in mega research projects to see if the large-scale quantum computers can become a success. One institution in the center of the research is the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia. Recent reports from researchers at the UNSW say that the results of a test have brought a quantum computer closer to reality. According to the researchers, a new technology involving an integrated silicon quantum bit (qubit) platform has been developed. The technology is said to combine both single spin addressability which refers to the ability to write information in a single spin qubit without disturbing its neighbours. This will make computer processing very efficient as compared to the current use of binary digits.

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So what is the purpose of single spin addressability? The technology is expected to be vital in eliminating the quantum error, something that has always impeded the finalization of the quantum computer. This technology will be manufactured using well-established elements which are already used in the current computer industry. Therefore, the scientists will be developing the current computers into more advanced machines. The computers will require a network of millions of integrated qubits to make sure the error in fragile quantum systems can be corrected.

The current quantum technology has identified five vital hardware configurations to aid in the development of the quantum computer. UNSW has settled on silicon as the go-to hardware when it comes to quantum computers. The reason for this decision is that silicon is the basis of all modern computer chips. The researchers have decided to combine two quantum technologies for the first time ever and this is the reason that there are such high hopes for development. The university has published a new design for a novel chip that could allow quantum calculations to be performed using silicon and a complementary metal oxide semiconductor. The integrated chip is the facilitator of the single spin addressability.

So what does this mean for a potential quantum computer?

A large-scale quantum computer is closer to becoming a reality, thanks to the efforts at UNSW. The university has invested so much in the research that it has acquired some of the top minds in the world to help in the development of the computer. This new combination of technologies is a central figure in the quantum chip design. Since millions of physical qubits are required to make the system work, the use of silicon chips has proved an invaluable tech to enable scaling up the qubits to the required number. So far, the architecture at UNSW has shown no limitations and we believe it is on the right track.

Since UNSW is one of the most reputable research institutions in Australia and among the top worldwide, we have faith that it can crack this puzzle and create the first large-scale quantum computer. UNSW has dedicated its efforts to researching quantum technology, it is the first university in Australia to have a center that focuses on quantum technology alone. The students in this one of a kind center have dedicated their studies to quantum technology. For this reason, all we can do is have patience and trust that UNSW is headed in the right direction.

Interesting trivia on quantum technology

Infographic: How quantum entanglement keeps particles linked even when they're separated.