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Dr Jarryd Pla, NSW Node — University of NSW
Frontier technologies
ANFF provides more than just fabrication facilities; it also provides specialist training and support for Australia’s research students as part of its mandate to support world-class research.

Dr Jarryd Pla is one research student who embraced all that ANFF has to offer during his PhD studies. Jarryd started his PhD in 2009 at the University of NSW in the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T). Like many such research centres, the NSW Node was established along-side CQC2T to build on their existing expertise through the provision of new facilities and technical staff with complimentary knowledge.

Jarryd’s describes his project: “The goal was to develop a quantum bit (or qubit), which is the basic unit of a quantum computer, using the same techniques employed by silicon computer chip manufacturers today.

By chance this was one of the Centre’s key projects to work on. It was a very ambitious project, and not knowing how ambitious it actually was, I jumped at the opportunity. There were many late nights in the lab and sacrificed weekends.”

Under the guidance of ANFF-NSW Node Director Professor Andrew Dzurak and CQC2T Project Manager A/Professor Andrea Morello, Jarryd made the first giant leap towards a working silicon quantum computer. They fabricated a device that demonstrated the ability to detect the direction electrons spun around a phosphorous atom — they could read 0 or 1. This work earned Jarryd and the team a publication in the prestigious academic journal Nature, recognition seen by most scientists as the pinnacle of any research career.

Little did Jarryd know that this was just the beginning.

In October 2012 Jarryd was again published in Nature, this time as lead author, after successfully manipulating (or writing) the spin of the phosphorous atom and thereby demonstrating the first single atom quantum bit in silicon.

Jarryd had concreted his reputation in the international science research community, having achieved a goal so highly prized by researchers around the world that many believe it will be as significant as the discovery of the semiconductor transistor in 1947. This news made national and international headlines that extended as far as the New York Times.

In April 2013, with only weeks left before Jarryd was to hand his PhD thesis down to the UNSW Graduate Research School, Jarryd’s work was published a third time in Nature. This time for the demonstration of a quantum bit using the nuclear spin of the phosphorous atom, providing a significantly more accurate read-out of the device.

Professor Andrew Dzurak commented on the significance of this finding: “We achieved a read-out fidelity of 99.8 per cent, which sets a new benchmark for qubit accuracy in solid-state devices.

The accuracy of the UNSW team’s nuclear spin qubit rivals what many consider to be today’s best quantum bit — a single atom in an electromagnetic trap inside a vacuum chamber. The development of this “Ion Trap” technology was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics.” Jarryd’s work has turned the revolutionary concept of a quantum computer from science fiction into a real possibility. With the support of ANFF and CQC2T, Jarryd has begun his research career with a CV full of accomplishments that few academics will see in their lifetime.

In May 2013 Jarryd took up a Post Doctoral Fellowship at the University College London where he will continue work in quantum computation.