Oct 5, 2015

Australian engineers just built a quantum logic gate in silicon for the first time

Posted by in categories: computing, materials, particle physics, quantum physics

For decades, researchers have been trying to build a computer that harnesses the enormous potential of quantum mechanics. Now engineers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have overcome the final hurdle, by creating a quantum logic gate in silicon — the same material that today’s computer chips are made from.

The newly developed device allows two quantum bits — or qubits — to communicate and perform calculations together, which is a crucial requirement for quantum computers. Even better, the researchers have also worked out how to scale the technology up to millions of qubits, which means they now have the ability to build the world’s first quantum processor chip and, eventually, the first silicon-based quantum computer.

Right now, regular computer chips store information as binary bits, which are either in a 0 or 1 state. This system works well, but it means that there’s a finite amount of data that can be processed. Qubits, on the other hand, can be in the state of 0, 1, or both at the same time, which gives quantum computers unprecedented processing power… if we can work out how to build them.

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