According to Physics World, a magazine made by the UK Institute of Physics, a breakthrough made by UNSW researchers is among the most significant made in the world in 2015. Specifically, their ability to make two quantum bits communicate with each other, forming a silicon-made logic gate — the basis of quantum computing.
A very noteworthy part of the research (and its recent breakthrough) is that the parts used were silicon-based, like modern day computers, which points to a quantum computing technique that can be easily replicated and scaled up for the masses. This is as opposed to the highly expensive and specialised parts used by corporate research teams construcing quantum supercomputers.
At the very base of computing is the ability to store information in binary bits as either 0 or 1. But a quantum bit could be 0, 1, or both, vastly increasing the value of each bit. This is the first time researchers have been able to manipulate that information so the quantum bits can actually perform calculations — at least, the first time using silicon.
UNSW Research Fellow Dr Menno Veldhorst said “We’ve morphed those silicon transistors into quantum bits by ensuring that each has only one electron associated with it. We then store the binary code of 0 or 1 on the ‘spin’ of the electron, which is associated with the electron’s tiny magnetic field.”
“Our results mean that all the physical building blocks for a silicon quantum computer have now been successfully constructed.”
Congratulations to the research team.