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A key building block for a quantum computer Return to case studies page

Prof Andrew Dzurak and Dr Andrea Morello, NSW node - Frontier technologies
ANFF provides the world’s best fabrication tools for Australian scientists at the forefront of their field. Providing this intersection between frontier science and fabrication capabilities is seeding many technological breakthroughs that will change the world.

Since the 1998 publication of Prof. Bruce Kane’s concept in the prestigious international journal Nature, Australia has been at the forefront of the race to construct a working quantum computer. The goal of producing a quantum computer is highly prized by researchers around the world, since many believe this represents the next significant technological leap in computing technology. Quantum computers promise exponential increases in processing speed over today’s computers for a number of important applications. This speed increase comes because they operate using quantum bits (or qubits) to represent data and qubits can exist in two states simultaneously, opening the way to massive parallelism.

The spin of a single electron is an ideal type of qubit, but a quantum computer needs a way to change and also read this spin state. Until recently this has not been technologically possible in silicon. Now, using facilities at the NSW Node of ANFF, Prof. Andrew Dzurak and Dr Andrea Morello of UNSW and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology have developed the world’s first single electron reader in silicon.

“After a decade of work trying to build this type of single atom qubit device, this is a very special moment.” says Prof. Dzurak. The global significance of this development has been recognised, with Nature once again publishing the group’s research.

Now the team has created a single electron reader, they are working to quickly complete a single electron spin writer and combine the two. Again, the infrastructure and expertise provided within ANFF will be critical to this. Further work will then combine pairs of these devices to create a logic gate – and hopefully onto the world’s first demonstration of a silicon based quantum computing system.

This work recently won Prof. Andrew Dzurak and Dr Andrea Morello an Australia Museum Eureka award.