The company QTech has presented the first 6 qubit quantum processor based on silicon. It is an important advance to allow the manufacture of quantum computers affordable and viable.
Quantum computing is the future, but for that future to become a reality, it must be made feasible and sustainable in research settings, and even in business, or at home.
This new technology works at the atomic level. Instead of handling bits, they handle qubitsin Spanish cubits or quantum bits. It is a state of the electrons that allows them to be a 1 and a 0 at the same time. This opens up new fields in the development of computing. On a practical level, it means computers millions of times more powerful than current ones.
The problem with qubits is that to generate them you have to spin electrons in a very specific and precise way. There are already quantum processors that handle more than 50 qubitsbut require superconducting materials Y processing of electrons at low temperatures. In other words, very expensive and very difficult to manufacture quantum computers.
The silicon-based quantum processor
Several research groups are working on quantum processors made with silicon. This will greatly reduce costs, as well as mass production, since the entire computer industry is based on the silicon.
Until now the silicon quantum processor more powerful had managed to handle 3 qubits at the same time. The company specialized in quantum computing QuTech announces that it has manufactured the first 6 qubit quantum processor based on silicon, doubling the previous record. Its error rates are small, which is why it is a viable hardware. You can see it in the opening photo of the news.
To manufacture the qubits, the individual electrons are arranged in a linear array of six “quantum dots” separated by 90 nanometers. The quantum dot array is fabricated on a silicon chip with structures that closely resemble the transistor, a common component in all computer chips.
To define a qubit a quantum mechanical property called spin is used, whose orientation defines the logical state 0 or 1. The team used finely tuned microwave radiation, magnetic fields and electric potentials to control and measure the spin of individual electrons and make them interact with each other.
East 6 qubit quantum processor has a size of only 700 nanometers. To give you an idea, it is 100 times smaller than a hair.
“The challenge of quantum computing today consists of two parts”, explains the first author, Stephan Philips, in the cover note. “Develop qubits of sufficient quality and develop an architecture that allows building large systems of qubits. Our work fits into both categories.”
With your system, spin can build logic gates and entangle systems of two or three electrons, on demand. The logic gates they are the most basic level of operations used by a processor, on which all its functions are built.
The 6 qubit quantum processor based on silicon of QuTech is important, because it doubles the processing power of the previous record, and predicts a future in which they can be built affordable quantum computers for universities or companies. Houses will take a little longer to arrive.