Quantum computers promise to harness the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at a time to solve problems that are too complex or time-consuming for existing computers. Google, IBM and other technology companies are all developing quantum computers, using a range of approaches.
The team from the University of New South Wales say they have invented a new chip design based on a new type of quantum bit, the basic unit of information in a quantum computer, known as a qubit.
The new design would allow for a silicon quantum processor to overcome two limitations of existing designs: the need for atoms to be placed precisely, and allowing them to be placed further apart and still be coupled.
Crucially, says project leader Andrea Mello, this so-called “flip-flop qubit” means the chips can be produced using the same device technology as existing computer chips.
“This makes the building of a quantum computer much more feasible, since it is based on the same manufacturing technology as today’s computer industry,” Mello said.
That would allow chips for quantum computers to be mass-manufactured.