Researchers from Simon Fraser University were successful in making a breakthrough in the field of quantum technology development. Their study paves the way for creating silicon-based quantum computing processors compatible with the existing semiconductor manufacturing technology.
The researchers light up the silicon chips’ tiny defects with intense light beams. Stephanie Simmons, the principal investigator of the research, explains that the imperfections of the chips serve as an information carrier. Investigators point out that the tiny defect reflects the transmitted light.
#quantumcomputing could surpass today’s supercomputers. @SFUPhysics researchers published a major breakthrough in @Nature: the first all-optical measurement of silicon spin qubits – opening the door to new scalable quantum computer design. https://t.co/MDOx4pECgq @quantumstef pic.twitter.com/st7VlRVVZ9
— Simon Fraser University (@SFU) July 13, 2022
Silicon chip defects
Some of the naturally occurring silicon imperfections may act as quantum bits or qubits. Scientists consider these defects as spin qubits. Also, previous research shows how silicon produces long-lived and stale qubits.
Daniel Higginbottom, their lead author, considers this breakthrough promising. He explains that the researchers were able to combine silicon defects with quantum physics when it was considered to be impossible to do before.
Furthermore, he notes that while silicon defects have been studied extensively from the 1970s to the 1990s and quantum physics research being done for decades, it’s only now that they saw these two studies come together. He says that by utilizing “optical technology in silicon defects…[they’ve] have found something with applications in quantum technology that’s certainly remarkable.”
Quantum computing has the potential to unlock advances in many scientific fields. @CosmosMagazine explains how @SFU's Silicon Quantum Technology Lab is taking a fresh look at silicon to provide computing solutions for the future: https://t.co/oElIoBNdON @SFUPhysics pic.twitter.com/N2hMzuuZWI
— SFU Science (@SFU_Science) July 15, 2022
Simmons acknowledges that quantum computing is the future of computers with its capability to solve simple and complex problems, however, it’s still in its early stages. But with the use of silicon chips, the process can become more streamlined and bring quantum computing faster to the public than expected.
This study demonstrates the possibility of making quantum computers with enough power and scale to manage significant computation. It gives an opportunity for advancements in the fields of cybersecurity, chemistry, medicine, and other fields.