Quantum Computing in Silicon Just Made a Major Breakthrough. 99% Efficiency?

The breakthrough suggests the possibility of almost error-free quantum computing.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Last November, we brought you two major quantum computing breakthroughs. First, the U.S. Quantum Economic Development Consortium revealed the results of benchmarking experiments that demonstrated how an advanced error-suppression method increased the probability of success for quantum computing algorithms to succeed on real hardware by an unprecedented 2,500%.

Second, engineers from Stanford University demonstrated a new, simpler yet more advanced design for a quantum computer that could help practical versions of the machine finally become a reality. The new design saw a single atom entangle with a series of photons, allowing it to process and store more information, as well as run at room temperature, an impressive achievement.

Now, researchers from the University of South Wales (UNSW) have taken a huge step to proving that near error-free quantum computing is possible and may soon be a reality.

Professor Andrea Morello of UNSW, who led the work, stated to Phys.org that "Today's publication in Nature shows our operations were 99 percent error-free." 

"When the errors are so rare, it becomes possible to detect them and correct them when they occur. This shows that it is possible to build quantum computers that have enough scale, and enough power, to handle meaningful computation. This piece of research is an important milestone on the journey that will get us there." 

Morello had already managed to preserve quantum information in silicon for 35 seconds, a timeframe that is equivalent to an eternity in the quantum world. But there was one problem: Morello's approach involved isolating the qubits which made it impossible for them to interact with each other for engaging in computations.

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In his new trials, Morello conceived of an electron encompassing two nuclei of phosphorus atoms that could bypass the issues encountered in his initial efforts. Better yet, the new method ensures that the quantum breakthrough is compatible with today's broader semiconductor industry. Now, that's something to get excited about!

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