Science

Flip-flop qubit: Researchers find new way to build quantum computers

Flip-flop qubit: Researchers find new way to build quantum computers”

"This design provides a realizable blueprint for scalable spin-based quantum computers in silicon", said qubits writers earlier today in Nature Communications.

While the world has been waiting for Quantum computers promise to harness the ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at a time to solve problems that are too complex or time-consuming for existing computers, they have been a lot time coming.

"We call it the "flip-flop" qubit", said Tosi.

Morello described this as the crux of the new quantum computer chip: "This means we can now place the single-atom qubits much further apart than previously thought possible", he said.

"What Guilherme and the team have invented is a new way to define a "spin qubit" that uses both the electron and the nucleus of the atom", Morello explained. Often qubits set-up can only remain stable if the atom and electron are at maximum 10-20 nanometers apart, which is about 50 atoms.

"If they're too close, or too far apart, the "entanglement" between quantum bits - which is what makes quantum computers so special - doesn't occur. This new concept suggests another pathway".

"This is the crucial point", adds Morello.

There have been many attempts to make qubits, including trapped ions and superconducting materials.

The qubit works by pulling the electron away from the nucleus using an electric field, creating an electric dipole - with a positive charge on one side and a negative on the other. These systems are large and easier to fabricate, and are now leading the way in the number of qubits that can be operated. However, their larger size means they may face challenges in the longer term when building arrays of millions of qubits that will be required by the most useful quantum algorithms.

"Our new silicon-based approach sits right at the sweet spot", Morello said.

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According to researchers at Australia's University of New South Wales, they have invented a new chip architecture based on a new type of quantum bit.

"This is a theory, a proposal - the qubit has yet to be built", says Morello.

This qubit has yet to be built, although preliminary experiments suggests it is feasible, and the lab has build single atom qubits before. "But I think this is as visionary as Kane's original paper".

Martin LaForest, senior manager of scientific outreach and Chris Wright both from Institute for Quantum Computing strongly believes that our generation is still ways off from a quantum computer in our offices soon.

As researchers at the university want to make an array of millions of qubits very close together, Morello explained that all of the control lines, control electronics, and readout devices must also be fabricated at a nanometric scale.

IBM's quantum computer in the United States has 16 qubits, meaning it can only perform basic calculations.

This approach could be one the team will develop into a real device. "It's a great example of how UNSW, like numerous world's leading research universities, is today at the heart of a sophisticated global knowledge system that is shaping our future".

The company, based at UNSW's Sydney campus has the goal of producing a 10 qubit integrated circuit prototype by 2022.

In August, the partners launched Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd, Australia's first quantum computing company, to advance the development and commercialisation of the team's unique technologies.



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