Scientists demonstrate key component of quantum machine

Mass production of incredibly powerful quantum computers may be only 10 years away thanks to researchers at the University of New South Wales who have demonstrated a quantum bit based on the nucleus of a single atom in silicon.

The breakthrough is a significant step forward from the creation of the world’s first quantum bit in September last year.

UNSW professor Andrew Dzurak said last year, researchers wrote and read back quantum information on an electron that was bound to an atom.

“This year, we have drilled down inside the atom, writing and reading information on the nucleus of an atom, which is a million times smaller,” Dzurak said. “When we work with the nucleus, we have a more accurate quantum bit than we had in September last year.

“The previous quantum bit, although demonstrated, didn’t have the accuracy necessary to do reliable calculations; no we have a quantum bit that can do that.”

Dzurak said having more accurate quantum bits will enable scientists to “scale up” and make more viable quantum machines.

“We have moved to a more advanced level [in quantum computing], with a [quantum bit] that is hundreds of thousands of times more accurate than previously,” he said. “We achieved a read-out fidelity of 99.8 per cent, which sets a new benchmark for qubit accuracy in solid state devices.”