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Quantum Computers Coming Soon

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Two research teams at the University of New South Wales have taken us a step closer to building super powerful quantum computers and putting them in your hands.

The teams have created two types of quantum bits, or qubits. Qubits are the building blocks for quantum computers. These qubits are not only super fast, but also super accurate, with each processing data with an accuracy above 99%. Menno Veldhorst of UNSW says, “It is really amazing that we can make such an accurate qubit using pretty much the same devices as we have in our laptops and phones.”

“For quantum computing to become a reality we need to operate the bits with very low error rates,” says Andrew Dzurak, Director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility at UNSW. “We’ve now come up with two parallel pathways for building quantum computers in silicon, each of which shows this super accuracy,” adds Andrea Morello from UNSW’s School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications.

Dzurak explains that, “even though methods to correct errors do exist, their effectiveness is only guaranteed if the errors occur less than 1% of the time. Our experiments are among the first in solid-state, and the first-ever in silicon, to fulfill this requirement.”

Morello’s research team also established a world-record “coherence time” for a single quantum bit held in solid state. “Coherence time is a measure of how long you can preserve quantum information before it’s lost,” Morello says. The longer the coherence time, the easier it becomes to perform long sequences of operations, and therefore more complex calculations. In other words, this is probably how our computers will work in the not-so-distant future.

The work of both research teams has been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Associate Professor Morello and Scientia Professor Dzurak are at the School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications, UNSW Australia. They are team leaders at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, headquartered at UNSW. The quantum bit devices were constructed at UNSW at the Australian National Fabrication Facility, with support from researchers at the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University. The research was funded by: the Australian Research Council, the US Army Research Office, the NSW Government, UNSW Australia and the University of Melbourne.

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