Researchers reach record 99pc accuracy in quantum computing

13 Oct 2014

Two research teams from Australia have broken records for quantum computing after their separate work both achieved 99pc accuracy in their quantum bits, considered the key to a quantum computer.

These qubits, as they are more commonly known, are what makes the potential for a quantum computer so important as they would be able to process information at a rate far, far surpassing computers we use today.

The two research teams are both based in the University of New South Wales (UNSW), but the first team led by Prof Andrew Dzurak has been able to create an ‘artificial atom’ qubit that could be placed in silicon chips reminiscent of those used in existing computers.

This could potentially make the transition from silicon transistors to quantum computing easier when the time comes.

The second aspect to these new developments comes from Dr Juha Muhonen, whose team used its own phosphorus atom, made up of an electron and nucleus, to create a new ultra-efficient qubit that has reached 99.99pc accuracy, or one error for every 10,000 quantum operations.

In order for the qubits to achieve this accuracy, they are placed on top of one another within the specially created layer which only contains the silicon 28 isotope, which is non-magnetic and keeps the qubits from being disturbed, which would lead to inaccuracy.

The quantum information was stored for just 30 seconds, but as associate Prof Andrea Morello of UNSW explained, this is a fantastic achievement.

“Half a minute is an eternity in the quantum world. Preserving a ‘quantum superposition’ for such a long time, and inside what is basically a modified version of a normal transistor, is something that almost nobody believed possible until today.”

Quantum computer chip image via Shutterstock

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic