Scientists design a silicon quantum computer chip

It's a problem being worked on by researchers around the world, and now scientists have finally designed a computer chip that can integrate quantum interactions.

Scientists have re-imagined the silicon microprocessors we know to create a complete design for the 'elusive' quantum computer chip.

The team even suggests that the chip could be manufactured using existing industry standard processes and components.

If successful, the processor would be able to perform mind-boggling calculations to solve scientific problems like climate change or cure complex diseases like cancer. 

it could also lead to unhackable communication.  

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Scientists have finally designed a computer chip that can integrate quantum interactions. The scientists have re-imagined the silicon microprocessors we know to create a complete design for a quantum computer chip (artist's impression pictured)

Scientists have finally designed a computer chip that can integrate quantum interactions. The scientists have re-imagined the silicon microprocessors we know to create a complete design for a quantum computer chip (artist's impression pictured)

THE MICROCHIP 

The design incorporates conventional silicon transistor switches to 'turn on' operations between quantum bits (qubits) in a vast two-dimensional array, using a grid-based 'word' and 'bit' select protocol similar to that used to select bits in a conventional computer memory chip.

By selecting electrodes above a qubit, the researchers found they could control a qubit's spin, which stores the quantum binary code of a 0 or 1.

And by selecting electrodes between the qubits, two-qubit logic interactions, or calculations, can be performed between qubits.

Qubits can store information in binary code – as a 0, a 1, or an arbitrary combination of 0 and 1 at the same time.

Quantum computers can store multiple values at once, and also process them simultaneously, doing multiple operations at once.

This would allow a universal quantum computer to be millions of times faster than any conventional computer when solving a range of important problems. 

Researchers from the University of New South Wales developed the microchip, which allows quantum calculations to be performed using existing semiconductor components.

Known as complementary metal-oxide-semiconductors (CMOS), they are the basis for all modern chips.

Dr Andrew Dzurak, who worked on the chip, said: 'We often think of landing on the moon as humanity's greatest technological marvel.

'But creating a microprocessor chip with a billion operating devices integrated together to work like a symphony - that you can carry in your pocket - is an astounding technical achievement, and one that's revolutionised modern life.

'With quantum computing, we are on the verge of another technological leap that could be as deep and transformative.

'But a complete engineering design to realise this on a single chip has been elusive. I think what we have developed at UNSW now makes that possible.

'And most importantly, it can be made in a modern semiconductor manufacturing plant.'

The microchip could pave the way towards creating millions of quantum bits, or qubits, according to the researchers.

Dr Menno Veldhorst, who led the study, said: 'Remarkable as they are, today's computer chips cannot harness the quantum effects needed to solve the really important problems that quantum computers will.

'To solve problems that address major global challenges, it's generally accepted we will need millions of qubits working in tandem.

'To do that, we will need to pack qubits together and integrate them, like we do with modern microprocessor chips. That's what this new design aims to achieve.'

The new design incorporates conventional silicon transistor switches to 'turn on' operations between qubits in a vast two-dimensional array.

It uses a grid-based 'word' and 'bit' select protocol similar to that used to select

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