Spin qubits bring quantum computing closer

Intel claims breakthrough in quantum computing with spin qubits invention

Intel claims breakthrough in quantum computing with spin qubits invention

However, they deliver quantum power by leveraging the spin of a single electron on a silicon device and controlling the movement to create tiny microwave pulses.

Classical computers perform all of their calculations by converting data into binary code, with each zero or one representing some physical two-choice bit.

However, silicon-based approaches have proved less popular than alternative ways to generate qubits, like the one in which superconducting materials like aluminum cooled to extreme temperatures are used. Another team, led by Professor Jason Petta from Princeton University in the U.S., was able to transfer the state of the spin of an electron suspended in silicon onto a single photon of light. "All of these elements are essential to advancing quantum computing from research to reality". However, similar to how superconducting qubits operate, these electrons also have the probability of a spin that is both up and down at the same time.

"Going forward, Intel and QuTech will continue research on both superconducting and spin qubits across the entire quantum system - or "stack" - from qubit devices to the hardware and software architecture required to control these devices as well as quantum applications", according to the Intel news post. When the electron spins down, the data signifies the binary value 0.

QuTech researchers, now working in partnership with Intel, were able to perform some quantum algorithms, including the well-known Grover search algorithm (basically, they could search through a list of four things). Any noise or unintended observation of them can cause data loss. They are also very large, operating in systems the size of 55-gallon drums, which makes it hard to scale up the design of the quantum system to the millions of qubits needed. Present-day semiconductor technology can create these spin qubits, and they would be smaller than the superconducting chips used by IBM.

Intel can leverage its silicon "manufacturing know-how". This development paves the way to larger spin-based processors capable of more complex applications. Fabricated in the same facility as Intel's advanced transistor technologies, Intel is now testing the initial wafers. These wafers are now being tested and within a few months time, Intel expects to be ramping up production, with many wafers coming each week containing thousands of small qubit arrays.

Within a couple of months, Intel expects to be producing significant numbers of wafers, each with thousands of small qubit arrays.