(ORDO NEWS) — Before quantum computers and quantum networks can realize their enormous potential, scientists will have to solve several difficult problems, but a new study offers a potential solution to one of these problems.
As we have seen, recent research has shown that the silicon material that makes up our existing classical computing components can also store quantum bits.
These quantum bits – or qubits – are the key to next-level quantum computing performance. and they come in different types.
Silicon qubits are one type that physicists have managed to make more perfect and stable over time, but there’s also the question of how to tie them together at scale. A new study shows that certain defects in silicon, known as T centers, can act as photonic (or light-based) bonds between qubits.
“A T-center-like emitter that combines high-performance spin qubits and optical photon generation is ideal for building scalable distributed quantum computers,” says quantum physicist Stephanie Simmons of Simon Fraser University in Canada.
“They can process and share data together, rather than having to pair two different quantum technologies, one for processing and one for communication.”
In other words, it’s a more efficient system and quite possibly easier to build. The researchers report that this is the first time this kind of quantum particle activity has been observed optically in silicon — further evidence that this is a viable path forward.
There is another advantage: T-centers emit light at the same wavelength used by modern fiber optic networks and telecommunications equipment. This would make the deployment of quantum internet technology easier.
“With T-centers, you can create quantum processors that interact with other processors,” says Simmons.
“When your silicon qubit can communicate by emitting photons (light) in the same range used in data centers and fiber optic networks, you get the same benefits when connecting the millions of qubits required for quantum computing.”
Researchers have created tens of thousands of small “microbeads” on silicon wafers using special microscopy techniques to confirm that each of these tiny devices has a small number of T-centers that can be individually addressed and controlled.
There is still a lot of work to be done. qubits need to be made more reliable and accurate so they can be used correctly, but this research brings us one more significant step closer to the future of quantum computing.
If this future can be based on silicon, then we already have years of manufacturing experience and the necessary equipment, and this, in turn, means a smoother transition to quantum computing at scale.
“By finding a way to create quantum computing processors in silicon, you can take advantage of all the years of development, knowledge and infrastructure used to manufacture conventional computers, rather than creating an entirely new quantum manufacturing industry,” says Simmons.
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