“This means we can now place the single-atom qubits much further apart than previously thought possible,” he continued. “So there is plenty of space to intersperse the key classical components such as interconnects, control electrodes and readout devices, while retaining the precise atom-like nature of the quantum bit.”
Morello called Tosi’s concept as significant as Bruce Kane seminal 1998 paper in Nature. Kane, then a senior research associate at UNSW, hit upon a new architecture that could make a silicon-based quantum computer a reality – triggering Australia’s race to build a quantum computer.
“Like Kane’s paper, this is a theory, a proposal – the qubit has yet to be built,” said Morello. “We have some preliminary experimental data that suggests it’s entirely feasible, so we’re working to fully demonstrate this. But I think this is as visionary as Kane’s original paper.”
Flip-flop qubits: UNSW engineers create new quantum computing architecture
Building a quantum computer has been called the ‘space race of the 21st century’ – a difficult and ambitious challenge with the potential to deliver revolutionary tools for tackling otherwise impossible calculations, with a plethora of useful applications in healthcare, defence, finance, chemistry and materials development, software debugging, aerospace and transport. Its speed and power lie in the fact that quantum systems can host multiple ‘superpositions’ of different initial states, and in the spooky ‘entanglement’ that only occurs at the quantum level the fundamental particles.
“It will take great engineering to bring quantum computing to commercial reality, and the work we see from this extraordinary team puts Australia in the driver’s seat,” said Mark Hoffman, UNSW’s Dean of Engineering. “It’s a great example of how UNSW, like many of the world’s leading research universities, is today at the heart of a sophisticated global knowledge system that is shaping our future.”
The UNSW team has struck a A$83 million deal between UNSW, telco giant Telstra, Australia’s Commonwealth Bank and the Australian and New South Wales governments to develop, by 2022, a 10-qubit prototype silicon quantum integrated circuit – the first step in building the world’s first quantum computer in silicon.
In August, the partners launched Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd, Australia’s first quantum computing company, to advance the development and commercialisation of the team’s unique technologies. The NSW Government pledged A$8.7 million, UNSW A$25 million, the Commonwealth Bank A$14 million, Telstra A$10 million and the Federal Government A$25 million.