UNSW researchers have established a viable solution for 99% accurate quantum computing processing using silicon.
The UNSW team, led by Professor Andrea Morello and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, led by Professor Lieven Vandersypen, used a method called gate set tomography to certify the performance of their quantum processors.
According to Morello, “When 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 computations.
“This research is an important step in the journey that will lead us there.”
This breakthrough in emerging technology paves the way for the fabrication and real-world application of quantum chips that are compatible with today’s silicon chip factories.
Morello et al’s achievement comes after his earlier demonstration that by isolating nuclear spins from their surroundings, he could retain quantum information in silicon for up to 35 seconds.
According to Morello, that’s nearly a million times longer than superconducting quantum computers from Google and IBM, which have a shelf life of around a hundred microseconds.
“In the quantum world, 35 seconds is an eternity,” he said.
However, by isolating the qubits in this way, they were unable to interact with each other. — which is critical in computational performance.
The scientists’ response to this barrage was to use an electron consisting of two nuclei and two phosphorus atoms.
According to an author of the recent Nature publication, Dr. Serwan Asaad, “It really is unlocking technology.”
“Nuclear spins are the heart of the quantum processor. If you entangle them with the electron, then the electron can then be moved to another location and entangle with other qubit nuclei further away, paving the way for the creation of large qubit arrays capable of robust computations and useful.
As the quantum breakthrough is compatible with the broader semiconductor industry, according to Morello, with error rates below 1%, they can now begin to design scalable and reliable silicon quantum processes for computational computing.