Highly Enriched Silicon Could Lead To Quantum Computing
A new highly enriched version of silicon has broken the record for quantum computing in a solid state and paves the way for more powerful quantum computers in the future.
Researchers from Simon Fraser University, Oxford University, and Germany have created a "highly isotopically enriched" silicon which allowed for quantum processes to take place without a vacuum. Previously, to observe such phenomena, scientists used to think they required a near-perfect vacuum.
The new silicon allowed the scientists to observe these processes for up to three minutes - far longer than the matter of seconds that was common before.
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"It's by far a record in solid-state systems," said physicist Mike Thewalt from Simon Fraser University. "If you'd asked people a few years ago if this was possible, they'd have said no. It opens new ways of using solid-state semi-conductors such as silicon as a base for quantum computing."
"You can start to do things that people thought you could only do in a vacuum. What we have found, and what wasn't anticipated, are the sharp spectral lines (optical qualities) in the 28Silicon we have been testing. It's so pure, and so perfect. There's no other material like it."
Quantum computers are still a long ways off, and the idea is to use subatomic particles to perform memory and processing tasks.
Computers would no longer be limited to binary ones and zeroes.
"A classical 1/0 bit can be thought of as a person being either at the North or South Pole, whereas a qubit can be anywhere on the surface of the globe -- its actual state is described by two parameters similar to latitude and longitude," according to Thewalt.