UNSW researchers have announced a new landmark in their pursuit of creating a quantum computer chip.
Scientists from the Centre of Excellence For Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, which is a part of the university, developed the ability to tune the control frequency of quantum bits (qubits) constructing one from scratch.
With help from the Indiana-based Purdue University, the researchers created two custom-made qubits, one consisting of two phosphorus atoms with a single electron and one with a single phosphorus atom and electron. Both were placed 16 nanometers apart.
A high-power microwave antenna was placed above the chip, exposing the qubits to frequencies of 40GHz. When changing the frequencies of the signal, scientists observed that the electron in the single atom had a dramatically different spin speed in comparison to the electron with 2 phosphorus molecules. It can be theorized that creating artificial molecules with different separations between the atoms will allow the creation of qubit families able to resonate on different frequencies, allowing each molecule to be operated individually by selecting the speed frequency appropriate for the desired electron speed.
The main challenge is approaching each qubit when they are so close together. The developments prove that it is possible to tune individual qubits without disrupting the ones in close proximity. This allows them to be ‘’tuned’’ in a similar manner to a radio, more exactly like changing stations.
The capacity to control and tune individual qubits is the first step in order to create the quantum entanglement states needed for a computer to carry out complex calculations.
Australia perceives silicon chips as the key to building functional quantum computers and the research mentioned in this article shows one of the main methods to achieve it.
While quantum computers remain a dream out of our reach for now, research is encouraging. If the release of the original PCs made such a difference, imagine what a quantum revolution could mean for the future of humanity.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca