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Old-fashioned silicon might be the key to building ubiquitous quantum computers

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Old-fashioned silicon might be the key to building ubiquitous quantum computers

Postby MrFredPFL » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:32 pm

Story :

In theory, silicon should be a great candidate to power next-generation machines. There’s already a huge infrastructure geared to producing silicon computer chips. And methods already exist for generating qubits, or quantum bits, using silicon-based approaches.

Qubits are the fundamental building blocks of quantum machines. A qubit’s ability to be in two states (0 and 1) at the same time—known as superposition—makes possible the massively parallel processing that is destined to outstrip the capabilities of the most powerful conventional computers.

But silicon-based approaches have proved less popular than alternative ways to generate qubits, such as one that uses superconducting materials like aluminum cooled to extreme temperatures. Among other reasons, silicon has been largely shunned because it’s difficult to control qubits generated that way and it’s unclear whether the resulting machines would scale well.

Chip giant Intel is hoping that “spin qubits” will help address such concerns. The basic idea is to use tiny microwave pulses to control the spin of an electron on a silicon device and use this to effectively create qubits.

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